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At noon: Nervously negative Add to ...

North American stock markets remained in the red and in caution mode in midday trading Monday, as the case of investor nerves stemming from the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission's charges against Goldman Sachs Group continued to hang over the market.

Shortly after noon ET, the S&P/TSX composite index was off 83 points at 11,988. The Dow Jones industrial average was off 28 points at 10,991, the S&P 500 was down 6 points 1,186, and the Nasdaq composite index was down 23 points at 2,458.

The Goldman charges, which hit the market Friday, have fuelled fears that other big U.S. financial names may also face repercussions - and, therefore, longer-term uncertainty - stemming from the subprime mortgage crisis. That's hurting U.S. bank stocks and fuelling a general shift to a more defensive stance among investors.

That is hitting risk-sensitive investments, driving commodity prices lower, which is weighing on Canada's resource-heavy market. Toronto's materials sub-index is leading the day's declines, off 1.5 per cent, while the heavily weighted energy sector is off 0.8 per cent. Over all, eight of Toronto's 10 major industry sub-indexes are lower.

Oil is off $2.16 (U.S.) at $81.08 a barrel in New York. Gold it down $4.10 at $1,132.80 an ounce.

The Canadian dollar, which tumbled more than a full cent against its U.S. counterpart Friday as investors fled commodity currencies in favour of the safety of the U.S. dollar, is off another two-thirds of a cent Monday, trading at 98.06 cents (U.S.).


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