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At midday: Stocks crumble on deteriorating earnings outlook Add to ...

North American stocks remained deep in the red in midday trading on Tuesday, following a disappointing round of earnings that underlined the tough economic environment for companies right now.

Shortly after noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 245 points or 1.8 per cent, to 13,101. The broader S&P 500 was down 23 points or 1.6 per cent, to 1411. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 223 points or 1.8 per cent, to 12,181.

The gloom was in Europe, too, where Spain’s central bank said that the country’s falling tax revenues could wreak havoc on the its deficit targets. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 1.4 per cent and Germany’s DAX index fell 2.1 per cent.

In the United States, DuPont reported a 98 per cent dip in its third-quarter earnings over last year and lowered its outlook for the full year. The shares fell 8.7 per cent. 3M Co. fell 3.4 per cent after its quarterly revenues missed analysts’ expectations and the company cut its full-year forecast.

However, United Parcel Service Inc. rose 2.8 per cent as its met estimates. But the parcel delivery company reported lower-than-expected revenue and warned of a slower growth environment.

The market declines were broad, affecting 94 per cent of stocks and all 10 subindexes within the S&P 500. Commodity producers were hit especially hard, with materials down 3.3 per cent and energy stocks down 2.4 per cent.

Defensive stocks also fell: Consumer staples and health care stocks fell 1.4 per cent each.

Within Canada’s benchmark index, just six stocks showed gains, including struggling Research In Motion Ltd. Energy stocks and materials fell 2.2 per cent each. Financials fell 1.6 per cent.

Among commodities, crude oil fell to $86.28 (U.S.) a barrel, down $2.45 and touching a three-month low. Gold fell to $1,709 an ounce, down $19 and hitting its lowest level in more than five weeks.

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