North American stocks dipped on Monday, putting them in midday trading on track to break an impressive two-day winning streak.
At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 31 points or 0.2 per cent, to 13,045. The broader S&P 500 was down 4 points or 0.3 per cent, to 1382. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 31 points or 0.3 per cent, to 11,735.
While investors have been anticipating a stimulative response from major central banks this week, Monday’s action coincides with economic disappointment in the United States. Manufacturing activity in the Dallas region turned negative in July, falling sharply from the previous month and dashing expectations for a far more moderate decline.
Economically sensitive stocks within the S&P 500 were among the biggest laggards. Consumer discretionary stocks fell 0.6 per cent, while financials and industrials fell 0.4 per cent each. Defensive telecom stocks, utilities and consumer staples showed modest gains.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, financials and industrials fell 0.2 per cent each, while energy stocks fell 0.3 per cent and materials fell 0.4 per cent.
The declines within the North American market contrasted with gains in Europe, where investors are growing confident that the European Central Bank is about to take a more active role in containing the ongoing sovereign-debt crisis. Germany’s DAX index rose 1.3 per cent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 1.2 per cent.
The gains come even as Spain’s economy contracted 0.4 per cent in the second quarter.