After opening much lower after key election results in Greece and France, world stock markets rebounded in the afternoon on Monday.
The TSX composite index closed down 10.57 at 11,860.66 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average in New York finished at 13,008.53, down 29.59. The S&P 500 was up 0.48 at 1,369.58.
In Europe, Frankfurt's DAX index rose 0.12 while the Paris-based CAC 40 was 1.65 per cent higher. London was closed for a holiday.
North American markets were weighed down by continuing weakness in crude oil. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for May delivery went for $97.94 on Monday, down 55 cents.
European Investors were digesting results of Sunday's election in Greece, which has resulted in a split Parliament where no party looks like it will be able to form a government. The two leading parties that governed as a coalition for the past six months were pummelled to the benefit of more extreme parties of the right and left.
The socialist Pasok party suffered the biggest retreat. Its share of the vote collapsed from around 43 per cent in the last election in 2009 to a little over 13 per cent. Greece's stock exchange lost 8 per cent when trading opened on Monday, one of the few European exchanges to fall.
A period of uncertainty looms for the bailed-out country, which is in its fifth year of recession and has over half its youth out of work following big spending cuts and tax increases in return for crucial international bailout funds. If no government can be formed that can command a majority in Parliament, another general election within the next two months seems possible.
"As for the Greek elections, they resulted in complete uncertainty with the possibility of another election taking place in the near future in order to try and put in place a government that can actually have some modicum of control," said Gary Jenkins, managing director of Swordfish Research.
With more than 99 per cent of the vote counted, conservative New Democracy led with 18.9 per cent and 108 of Parliament's 300 seats. Party leader Antonis Samaras, who backs Greece's bailout commitments for austerity, will launch coalition-forming talks later in the day.
Further weighing on sentiment is Sunday's defeat of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to his socialist rival Francois Hollande, who has campaigned on the need for more growth-generating economic policies and less reliance on austerity. Final results from France's presidential election show Hollande narrowly defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy with 51.62 per cent of the vote.
Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a setback Sunday in a regional election in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein. Merkel and her government have borne the brunt of the criticism over Europe's austerity drive.
"Election defeats for President Sarkozy, and for the main coalition parties in Greece and for Angela Merkel's party in Schleswig Holstein highlight voter backlash against austerity, economic contraction in unemployment," said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.