North American stocks extended their losing streak to four days, with major indexes falling hard on Tuesday as early enthusiasm over Alcoa Inc. earnings led to another round of concerns about deteriorating economic conditions.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 12,653.12, down 83.17 points or 0.7 per cent.
The broader S&P 500 closed at 1,341.47, down 10.99 points.
In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 11,512.22, down 122.45 points or 1.1 per cent.
Stocks had begun on a much stronger note, with the Dow rising by more than 90 points near the start of trading following a relatively upbeat earnings report from Alcoa Inc. on Monday.
Alcoa reported a net loss for the quarter, but nonetheless topped analysts' revenue and operating earnings estimates, which sent the shares higher in early trading on Tuesday. However, they ended the day down 2.7 per cent.
Investors were likely focused on signs elsewhere that companies are struggling within a weak global economy.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. fell 11.2 per cent after the chip maker cut its outlook because of worsening conditions in Europe and China.
As well, engine-maker Cummins Inc. fell 8.9 per cent after it lowered its revenue outlook for 2012.
Earlier, it had forecast sales growth of 10 per cent over last year, but now sees no growth at all.
"We have seen demand in some markets weaken recently as growth in the global economy has slowed," said Tom Linebarger, Cummins' chief executive and chairman, in a release.
Research In Motion Ltd. fell 4.6 per cent after it hosted its annual shareholders meeting, forcing key executives to face hostile questions from shareholders.
The slide in North American markets stood in contrast to gains in Europe, where investors cheered an agreement among finance ministers to extend Spain's deadline for reducing its budget deficit.
Major indexes moved higher: Germany's DAX index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.9 per cent each.
The gains follow some relief in the bond market as well, where yields declined for government bonds of some of the more indebted nations.
The yield on Spain's 10-year government bond fell to 6.73 per cent, down 25 basis points, after troubling gains in recent trading action.
Commodities moved lower. Gold fell to $1,579.80 an ounce, down $9.30. Crude oil fell to $83.91 a barrel, down $2.08.
Among commodity producers, Barrick Gold Corp. fell 2.7 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. fell 1.5 per cent.