North American stocks suffered only slight setbacks on Wednesday morning, despite a disappointing report on private-sector job losses in August.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9 points or 0.1 per cent, to 9302. The broader S&P 500 fell 2 points or 0.3 per cent, to 996.
There wasn't much of a pattern to the moves. Among health care stocks, Merck & Co. Inc. fell 1.8 per cent but Pfizer Inc. rose 0.2 per cent. Among financials, Bank of America Corp. fell 2.1 per cent but JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 0.7 per cent.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 22 points or 0.2 per cent, to 10,668.
Energy stocks were generally weak after the price of crude oil declined to $67.45 (U.S.) a barrel, down 60 cents. Since Aug. 24, the price of oil has fallen nearly 9 per cent. Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.8 per cent and Talisman Energy Inc. fell 0.5 per cent.
Financials were also weak, a day after leading a substantial selloff by the benchmark index. Toronto-Dominion Bank fell 1.2 per cent and Bank of Montreal fell 0.7 per cent.
However, gold producers were strong after the price of gold rose to $965.60 an ounce, up $9.10. Barrick Gold Corp. rose 3.4 per cent.
As well, Bombardier Inc. rose 5.2 per cent after it reported a 22 per cent slide in its second quarter earnings, that nonetheless topped analysts' expectations.
And MDS Inc. surged 23.1 per cent after the life sciences company said it would sell off most of its divisions.