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At midday: Dow, TSX slip amid discord in Europe

Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) during ceremony of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party to mark the upcoming 20-year anniversary of the German unification in Berlin.

FABRIZIO BENSCH/REUTERS

North American stocks were down for a third straight day on Monday in midday trading, following signs of disagreement in Europe and falling commodity prices.

At noon, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 24 points or 0.2 per cent, to 13,556. The broader S&P 500 was down 4 points or 0.3 per cent, to 1,456. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 43 points or 0.4 per cent, to 12,340.

In Europe, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 0.2 per cent and Germany's DAX index fell 0.5 per cent.

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Weekend comments from leaders of France and Germany suggested that the two countries have opposing views on how and when to integrate the euro zone's banking system.

As well, there were more signs of deteriorating global economic conditions. A reading of Germany business confidence fell unexpectedly in September.

Commodity prices retreated. Crude oil fell to $91.22 (U.S.) a barrel, down $1.67. Gold fell to $1,763 an ounce, down $10.

Within the S&P 500, technology stocks fell 1 per cent, energy stocks fell 0.6 per cent, materials fell 0.5 per cent and consumer discretionary stocks fell 0.3 per cent.

Apple Inc. fell 1.5 per cent after it said it sold 5 million new iPhones over the weekend, disappointing some expectations.

In Canada, commodity producers were the biggest drags on performance. Materials fell 1 per cent and energy stocks fell 0.8 per cent. Financials rose 0.4 per cent.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. rose 1.1 per cent after it announced a $62.5-million deal to buy the rights to Visudyne, a treatment for age-related blindness, from QLT Inc. QLT rose 5.7 per cent.

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Canaccord Financial Inc. fell 2.5 per cent after it announced that it will close half of the branches in its wealth management unit as it struggles to regain profitability in the unit.

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