Stocks remained in the red in midday trading on Wednesday, but had recovered some lost ground following sharp declines earlier in the session when investors recoiled from a disappointing reading on U.S. non-manufacturing activity.
At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 68 points or 0.6 per cent, to 11,799 - which is about 100 points above its low point. The broader S&P 500 was down 5 points or 0.4 per cent, to 1249.
The action was mixed within the S&P 500, with a number of economically sensitive areas of the index showing slight gains. Information technology stocks rose 0.3 per cent, while consumer discretionary stocks and industrials rose less than 0.1 per cent each.
Energy stocks were the biggest drags, falling 1.6 per cent after the price of crude oil slipped to $92.32 (U.S.) a barrel, down about $1.50. Meanwhile, defensive utilities fell 1 per cent and health care stocks fell 0.8 per cent.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 59 points or 0.5 per cent, to 12,693 - bringing its total decline from its near-term high in April to more than 11 per cent, putting it deeper into correction territory.
Information technology stocks rose 1.7 per cent, supported by an enthusiastic response to the unveiling of new BlackBerry models by Research In Motion Ltd.
Materials rose 1.2 per cent, helped out by a gain in the price of gold to $1,668.
However, energy stocks slumped 1.8 per cent, utilities fell 1.1 per cent and financials fell 0.9 per cent.