North American stocks were down in midday trading on Monday, putting major U.S. indexes below thresholds that had been celebrated during last Friday’s rally.
The S&P 500 was down 14 points or 0.9 per cent, to 1499. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average was down 129 points or 0.9 per cent, to 13,881 – after breaking above 14,000 last week and nearing a new record high. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 52 points o 0.4 per cent, to 12,716.
Part of the problem stemmed from Europe, where political uncertainty in Spain stirred dormant concerns about the debt crisis there. Spain’s prime minister faced calls to resign after reports of illegal political payments, sending government bond yields higher. The yield on the 10-year bond rose 23 basis points.
European stocks sank. Germany’s DAX index fell 2.5 per cent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell 1.6 per cent.
Closer to home, U.S. factory orders rose 1.8 per cent in December, below expectations among economists for a rise of 2.2 per cent.
Within the S&P 500, all 10 subindexes were down, suggesting a broad selloff. Consumer discretionary stocks, financials and technology stocks fell 1.1 per cent each.
Within Canada’s benchmark index, financials fell 0.7 per cent, industrials fell 0.6 per cent and energy stocks fell 0.4 per cent. Materials showed gains, but rose less than 0.1 per cent.
Research In Motion Ltd. stood out from the carnage, rising 12 per cent, marking its most significant raly since unveiling its new BlackBerry 10 last week. Bernstein upgraded the stock today to "outperform" from "market perform" and raised its price target to $22 from $12. There are also reports citing channel checks that suggest its BlackBerry 10 sales are off to a strong start in the U.K.
Key commodities were mixed. Gold rose to $1,676 (U.S.) an ounce, up $6. Crude oil fell $96.58 a barrel, down $1.19.