A slew of disappointing corporate earnings from major multinationals such as DuPont
(NYSE:MMM) and United Technologies
(NYSE:UTX), along with worries that the health Spanish economy is deteriorating, condemned US stocks to one of their worst days of the year thus far.
"On the surface, Q3 earnings appear to be coming in at or above expected levels, but much of that outperformance has come from the financials and a handful of large cap companies," Mike PeQueen, managing director at HighTower, told The Street
. "Technology has generally reported weaker than expected results, which bolsters the global slowdown story."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
was down 1.81% to 13,104.40 points as of 11:57 a.m. EDT.
Leading the day’s sell-off was DuPont, which plunged 8.92% to $45.32 after an all-round underwhelming earnings release. Citing weak demand in the titanium dioxide and photovoltaic markets, the company reported ex-item earnings of $0.44 per share, which was $0.02 below what analysts had expected, and also revised full-year guidance down to between $3.25 and $3.35 per share from a range of $4.20 to $4.40 previously. Additionally, DuPont also announced it would slash some 1,500 jobs in the next 12-18 months.
Also responsible for dragging the Dow down is 3M, which slid 3.33% to $89.45. The company’s third-quarter earnings of $1.65 per share was 8.5% better than results from the same period last year, but its full-year profit outlook was slashed to between $6.27 and $6.35 from about $6.40 because of “current economic realities.”
It was a bad day for energy companies as well, with both Chevron
(NYSE:CVX) (-2.86% to $109.52) and Exxon Mobil
(NYSE:XOM) (2.09% to $90.26) falling. The Energy Select Sector SPDR
(NYSEARCA:XLE), which tracks energy stocks in the S&P 500, was down 2.59% to $71.56.
One of only two Dow stocks that did not retreat in intraday trading was Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT), which inched up 0.09% to $28.03. The company has sold out pre-orders for its upcoming Surface tablet, according to media reports, boosting hopes that the product will help Microsoft claim a stake in the ever-growing mobile computing market.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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