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North American stocks opened down on Thursday morning, but sustained nowhere near the losses - so far at least - that have been dealt to Europe.

In the United States, technology stocks are the biggest problem, after bellwether technology company Cisco Systems Inc. warned of bad times ahead. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2 per cent to 12,178 in early trading, with technology stocks leading the way down. Hewlett-Packard Co. fell 2.2 per cent, IBM fell 2 per cent and Microsoft Corp. fell 1.6 per cent. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index suffered more severe declines of 0.6 per cent, led by Cisco, which fell 2.2 per cent to $22.57 (U.S.).

In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index was jostled by mixed earnings news from a couple of closely watched companies. Air Canada shares rallied 7.6 per cent, to $8.81, on the airline's strong fourth-quarter earnings results, which topped expectations handily. However, Loblaw Cos. shares slumped 3 per cent, to $29.86, after the food retailer posted quarterly results that came in below expectations.

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Research In Motion Ltd., also closely watched because of its importance to Canada's benchmark index and its close affiliation to the technology sector, is having a wild ride. In the first half hour of trading, the BlackBerry maker was down 1.7 per cent to $83.15. So far this year, the shares have fallen nearly 25 per cent on concerns about the impact of a slowing U.S. economy.

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