* Tech leads losses after downgrades
* Alcoa to start earnings season after the close
* IMF cuts growth forecasts
* Indexes off: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.8, Nasdaq off 1.4 pct
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Oct 9 U.S. stocks declined on Tuesday,
led by losses in technology after brokerage downgrades of Intel
and other major companies amid worries about
third-quarter U.S. earnings.
Earnings reports for S&P 500 companies, which begin later on
Tuesday, may show the first quarterly drop in three years,
according to analysts' estimates.
Shares of Intel, the world's largest semiconductor maker,
fell 2.6 percent at $21.92 after negative reports by at least
two brokerages, including Robert W. Baird & Co, which cut its
price target for Intel citing weak demand for notebooks.
The PHLX semiconductor index lost 1.7 percent.
Apple shares fell 1.8 percent to $626.80 and were the
biggest drag on the Nasdaq, while shares of Netflix
dropped 8.8 percent to $67.03 after Bank of America Merrill
Lynch cut the stock's rating.
Repeated warnings about the economy have left investors
cautious before what could be a disappointing earnings season,
after a rally that has pushed the S&P 500 up nearly 16 percent
so far in 2012, driving it to an almost five-year high.
"Coming into earnings seasion, everybody is keeping their
fingers crossed, being optimistic, but we've seen these economic
data points through the quarter, so we kind of know it's going
to be a muted season," said Larry Peruzzi, senior equity trader
at Cabrera Capital Markets Inc in Boston.
Analysts forecast third-quarter earnings of S&P 500
companies would fall 2.3 percent from the year-ago quarter,
according to Thomson Reuters data.
Earnings season will get under way after the bell when Dow
component Alcoa Inc reports quarterly results. Analysts
expect Alcoa's third-quarter results to show the aluminum
company broke even, down from a profit of 15 cents per share a
year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Adding to the bearish tone, the International Monetary Fund
said the global economic slowdown is worsening. It cut its
growth forecasts for the second time since April.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 81.21
points, or 0.60 percent, at 13,502.44. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 11.20 points, or 0.77 percent, at
1,444.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 44.75
points, or 1.44 percent, at 3,067.61.
Shares of Alcoa were up 0.1 percent at $9.13. The company's
results are watched for what they reveal about global growth
since aluminum plays a key role in many parts of the economy.
Among large multinationals that have warned about earnings,
citing weakness in Europe and China, are FedEx Corp,
Caterpillar Inc and Hewlett-Packard Co.
The Nasdaq OMX said it has resolved data issues affecting
some Russell indexes after earlier halting trading in the
Russell 2000 index.