Financial Markets Wall Street trader

After a 300-point loss on Thursday, the Dow Jones is now in negative territory for the year 2014. (Richard Drew/Associated Press)

North American stock markets slumped again on Friday, a day after big losses sparked by news of Argentina's default and other bleak economic news.

The S&P/TSX Composite Index lost 115 points to 15,215 at the close of trading on Friday. Those losses came a day after a slightly larger loss on Thursday, when investors sold off shares in just about everything. Thursday's sell-off was the first time in three months that Canada's benchmark stock index moved by more than a percentage point in one direction or the other.

Every sector was lower, with the exception of IT companies. The technology TSX subindex was up by about half a per cent. The TSX set an all-time high on Wednesday before the sell-off began.

"My view is that the market was looking for any excuse to sell, really," said John Stephenson, president and CEO at Stephenson and Co. Capital Management.

"You have tremendous amounts of cash sitting on the sidelines, at least in "the retail population, and people are just bloody well nervous that they're going to lose their shirt, especially when they look at how far the market has come," Stephenson said.

The losses weren't quite as bad in New York, but U.S-listed stocks had fared worse the previous day. 

The Dow was down 70 points to close at 16,493 as investors shook off decent employment news and focused instead on negative earnings reports. Earlier in the day, U.S. data came out showing the American economy added 209,000 jobs during the month.

But shares in Chevron and Exxon were dragged lower as the price of oil dropped again, to $97.88 US a barrel.

"The follow-through from yesterday's (market drop) is very telling," said Jonathan Corpina, a trader on the New York Stock Exchange with Meridian Equity Partners.

Consumer goods conglomerate Proctor & Gamble was a rare bright spot, gaining about four per cent to trade above $80 after the maker of brands like Duracell, CoverGirl, Pampers and Tide plans to sell off about half its products and focus on the remaining ones where it sees greater opportunities for growth.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press