North American stocks were down in midday trading on Wednesday after Alcoa Inc. kicked off the third-quarter earnings season with a disappointing report.
Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 75 points or 0.6 per cent, to 13,399. The broader S&P 500 was down 6 points or 0.4 per cent, to 1436. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 55 points or 0.5 per cent, to 12,219.
Alcoa Inc. fell 4.3 per cent after it reported quarterly results on Tuesday evening after markets closed. While the company’s adjusted earnings – which exclude special items – beat analysts’ expectations, Alcoa lowered its demand outlook for 2012 given the slowdown in China.
Chevron Corp. fell 4 per cent after the energy producer warned that its earnings would be hurt by hurricane activity and foreign exchange losses.
However, the gloom did not affect all corners of the market. Yum Brands Inc. jumped 8 per cent after the fast-food company reported that its earnings rose 19 per cent on a per share basis.
Costco Wholesale Corp. rose 4 per cent after it reported earnings that topped expectations. It reported earnings of 1.39 (U.S.) per share, up from $1.08 last year.
Within the S&P 500, commodity producers were the biggest drags: Energy stocks fell 1.5 per cent and materials fell 0.8 per cent. Consumer staples and financials saw modest gains.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, energy stocks fell 0.8 per cent, financials fell 0.5 per cent and materials fell 0.2 per cent.
In Europe, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 0.6 per cent and Germany’s DAX index fell 0.4 per cent.