North American stocks were down slightly in midday trading on Tuesday, marking their second straight decline after U.S. indexes rallied to multiyear highs last week following a bold economic stimulus announcement from the Federal Reserve.
Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 4 points, or 0 per cent, to 13,550. The broader S&P 500 was down 4 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 1,457. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 24 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 12,423.
European stocks also declined. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 0.4 per cent and Germany’s DAX index fell 0.8 per cent.
FedEx Corp. reported that its fiscal first quarter earnings fell 1.1 per cent and it also lowered its full-year earnings guidance. It now expects earnings to grow just 1.9 per cent, reflecting a weaker global economy. The shares fell 2.1 per cent.
Within the S&P 500, energy stocks fell 0.8 per cent, while materials and financials fell 0.7 per cent each, reflecting a declining appetite for economically sensitive stocks. Defensive stocks held up better: Consumer staples rose 0.5 per cent and health care stocks rose 0.2 per cent.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, materials and financials fell 0.1 per cent each, while energy stocks fell 0.6 per cent.
Crude oil, which fell in a mysteriously sharp way on Monday and then rebounded, was also down slightly. It traded at $96.33 (U.S.) a barrel in New York, down 33 cents.