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Canada bore the brunt of a decline in North American stock market indexes on Wednesday, after investors continued to fret over the economic rebound.

At noon, the S&P/TSX composite index was down 200 points or 1.8 per cent, to 10,853.

All 10 subindexes were down, led by declines of 2 per cent or more by materials, information technology and energy stocks. Financials fell 1.3 per cent.

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The September report on durable goods orders in the United States, which was merely in line with expectations, fed concerns that the preliminary reading on U.S. third quarter gross domestic product - to be released on Thursday - will perhaps not be as rosy as some observers had hoped. Already, economists at Goldman Sachs have reduced their forecast to 2.7 per cent growth from 3 per cent growth previously.

As well, new home sales in September fell 3.6 per cent, dashing expectations.

In the United States, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 28 points or 0.3 per cent, to 9854. The broader S&P 500 was down 9 points or 0.9 per cent, to 1054.

There, the action was more mixed, with seven of the 10 subindexes in negative territory. Materials and financials led the declines, falling more than 2 per cent each. Consumer discretionary stocks and energy stocks fell 1.6 per cent each.

Defensive areas of the market fared much better. Telecom services rose 1.7 per cent, consumer staples rose 0.2 per cent and utilities rose less than 0.1 per cent.

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