U.S. stocks took a turn for the worse on Thursday, with concerns about deflation and a slowing economy outweighing upbeat earnings news and declining U.S. jobless claims.
At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 93 points or 0.9 per cent, to 10,274. The broader S&P 500 was down 11 points or 1 per cent, to 1085.
The declines were widespread, with all 10 subindexes within the S&P 500 falling into negative territory. Financials were the worst hit, tumbling 2 per cent, even after JPMorgan Chase & Co. reported second quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectaions. Energy stocks fell 1.2 per cent, while industrials and materials fell 1 per cent each.
Given that these stocks tend to be more exposed to the global economy, the moves suggest that investors have turned risk-averse. Defensive stocks fared better, but still fell. Health care stocks and consumer staples fell 0.4 per cent each.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 12 points or 0.1 per cent, to 11,608.
Here, the action was far more mixed, with most of the 10 subindexes holding on to gains. Health care stocks rose 1 per cent, information technology stocks rose 0.8 per cent and industrials rose 0.5 per cent. Commodity producers were mixed, though: Materials rose 0.4 per cent, but energy stocks fell 0.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, telecom services and financials fell 0.4 per cent each.