North American stocks were generally down in midday trading on Tuesday, after early gains evaporated when Spain’s prime minister dashed hopes that a financial bailout was on the way.
Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 69 points or 0.5 per cent, to 13,446 – down more than 110 points from its earlier high. The broader S&P 500 was down 3 points or 0.2 per cent, to 1441. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was relatively unchanged, at 12,370.
The declines follow a disappointing development in Europe. Markets had been expecting a request from Spain for a financial bailout from the euro zone, which is seen as a necessary step in stabilizing the debt crisis there. But Spain’s prime minister said in a press conference that a request for aid was not imminent.
European stocks ended the day generally lower. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2 per cent and Germany’s DAX index fell 0.3 per cent.
Within the S&P 500, commodity producers were the biggest laggards, with gold and oil prices retreating. Oil was last seen at $92.19 (U.S.) a barrel, down 29 cents. Gold fell $5 an ounce, to $1,778. Energy stocks fell 0.3 per cent and materials fell 0.8 per cent. Defensive utilities and health care stocks showed slight gains.
In Canada, materials fell 0.9 per cent and financials fell 0.1 per cent. However, energy stocks gained 0.4 per cent.