U.S. stocks fell for a third day, as results from 3M Co. and Caterpillar Inc. disappointed investors and commodities continued to slide.
3M and Caterpillar dropped at least 3.6 percent after both cut their sales forecasts. Miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc. plunged 9.4 percent as metals prices continued to retreat. General Motors Co. jumped 4.2 percent as rising truck sales boosted profits.
Amazon.com Inc. and Visa Inc. rallied in late trading after results beat estimates.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.6 percent to 2,102.15 at 4 p.m. in New York, closing just below its average price during the past 50 days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 119.12 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,731.92, while the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.5 percent, erasing an earlier gain. About 7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 9 percent higher than the three-month average.
“Investors have been somewhat surprised at how unimpressive earnings have been considering where the stock market is,” said Jeff Sica, who oversees over $1.5 billion as president and chief executive officer of Circle Squared Alternative Investments in Morristown, New Jersey. “Earnings have not proven to be the catalyst they’ve looked for. Investors are just very tentative.”
Sluggish international markets are damping earnings at U.S. industrials giants. Caterpillar is selling fewer of its signature yellow diggers and dump trucks to miners amid the deepening slump in prices for copper, coal and iron ore. Sales of engines and generators to the energy industry also have been hurt by the slide in oil and natural gas prices.