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At the open: Dow falls 100 points over Spanish jitters

A trader studies monitors on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Seth Wenig

North American stocks fell at the start of trading on Wednesday, following global markets lower after a disappointing Spanish government bond sale reminded investors that Europe's debt crisis continues to linger.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 106 points or 0.8 per cent, to 13,093. The broader S&P 500 fell 11 points or 0.8 per cent, to 1,403. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 80 points or 0.7 per cent, to 12,243.

The declines follow a disappointing government bond auction in Spain, where the amount of bonds sold was at the low end of estimates and yields moved higher, reigniting concerns about the economic health of the indebted country.

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Stocks were somewhat volatile on Tuesday as well, after the minutes from the last Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting indicated that another round of monetary stimulus wasn't being considered right now.

U.S. bank stocks were among the hardest hit, with Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. down 1.8 per cent each. Alcoa Inc. also fell 1.8 per cent and Walt Disney Co. fell 1.7 per cent. Defensive stocks like AT&T Inc. and Procter & Gamble showed slight gains.

Among Canadian stocks, commodity producers led the declines after crude oil fell to $102.93 (U.S.) a barrel, down $1.08. Gold slumped to $1,628 an ounce, down $44. Barrick Gold Corp. fell 1 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.6 per cent.

Financials, however, were relatively steady. Royal Bank of Canada , which fell 2.8 per cent on Tuesday, was unchanged. Toronto-Dominion Bank fell 0.2 per cent.

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About the Author
Investing Reporter

David Berman has been writing about business and investing since 1995. He has written for a number of magazines, including Canadian Business and MoneySense. He worked at the Financial Post as an investing writer and daily columnist before moving to the Globe and Mail in 2008. More

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