North American stocks retreated slightly at the start of trading on Wednesday, weighed down by concerns about an oncoming European recession after Germany’s economy contracted in the fourth quarter.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 37 points or 0.3 per cent, to 12,425. The broader S&P 500 fell 4 points or 0.3 per cent, to 1288. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 12 points or 0.1 per cent, to 12,259.
The dip marks a contrast to the strong gains that major indexes have enjoyed so far this year, with both the S&P 500 and the TSX rising for five of the previous six trading sessions.
Urban Outfitters Inc. slumped 19.6 per cent after the company’s chief executive resigned. Coca-Cola Co. fell 2 per cent, Microsoft Corp. fell 0.9 per cent and Chevron Corp. fell 1 per cent.
However, Bank of America Corp. continued its winning streak, rising 0.9 per cent. Cisco Systems Inc. rose 1.2 per cent.
Among commodities, crude oil fell to $101.68 (U.S.) a barrel, down 56 cents. However, gold rose to $1,640.20 an ounce, up nearly $9. Among key producers, Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.2 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 0.3 per cent.
Meanwhile, Magna International Inc. fell 0.9 per cent, even as the auto parts maker raised its sales outlook for 2012.