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At the open: Dow, TSX in triple-digit swoon Add to ...

North American stocks fell at the start of trading on Wednesday on concerns about the slowing global economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 193 points or 1.8 per cent, to 10,451. The broader S&P 500 fell 22 points or 1.9 per cent, to 1100. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 137 points or 1.2 per cent, to 11,702.

All 30 Dow components were down, suggesting a broad selloff. However, stocks with a heavy exposure to the economy fell far more than defensive names. Leading the downturn, DuPont fell 3.9 per cent, Boeing Co. fell 3.3 per cent and Cisco Systems Inc. fell 2.8 per cent.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced that it would buy long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, in a move that investors appeared to welcome even as the central banks warned of slowing economic growth. On Wednesday, investors were confronted with softening economic data from China, a downgrade to the U.K.'s economic growth and falling U.S. exports.

In Canada, RONA Inc. fell 7.4 per cent after the home improvement retailer reported its second quarter results. Manulife Financial Corp. fell 2.9 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. fell 1.9 per cent. Crude oil fell to $79.03 (U.S.) a barrel, down $1.22. However, gold rose more than $9 an ounce, to $1207, which sent gold producers higher.

Meanwhile, Maple Leaf Foods Inc. continued its recent rise, gaining 4.5 per cent in early trading on reports that the struggling food producer is about to be shaken up by an active investor, Greg Boland at West Face Capital.

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