North America stocks retreated shortly after the start of trading on Tuesday, following Monday’s warning by Standard & Poor’s that 15 countries within the euro zone face the threat of a credit downgrade if the sovereign-debt crisis isn’t dealt with soon.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 4 points, to 12,094. The broader S&P 500 fell 2 points or 0.1 per cent, to 1256. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 80 points or 0.7 per cent, to 12,040.
Financials were among the biggest laggards. JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell 1.9 per cent and Bank of America Corp. fell 0.9 per cent. In Canada, Bank of Montreal fell 4.8 per cent after its fourth-quarter earnings rose 21 per cent but missed analysts’ expectations adjusting for certain items. Royal Bank of Canada fell 1.1 per cent.
Quadra FXN Mining Ltd. surged 36 per cent after it struck a $3-billion deal to be acquired by Polish copper producer KGHM Polska Miedz SA.
Other commodity producers struggled, though. Barrick Gold Corp. fell 1 per cent after the price of gold fell to $1,721 an ounce, down about $14. Suncor Energy Inc. fell 1.4 per cent, even as the price of crude oil held relatively steady above $100 a barrel.