* Dow off 1.8 pct, S&P 500 off 1.4 pct, Nasdaq off 0.9 pct
* DuPont drops sharply on results, UTX modestly lower
* Apple launches tablet; shares end lower
* About 63 pct of S&P companies miss revenue expectations
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Oct 23 U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday,
driving the Dow industrials to the biggest drop since June 21,
as weak results from index members DuPont and United
Technologies showed profit growth is slowing.
This earnings season has so far produced a string of
disappointments from companies falling short of Wall Street's
expectations. With results in from 29 percent of S&P 500
companies, 37 percent have exceeded revenue forecasts, far short
of the 62 percent average, and just 57.2 percent of the S&P 500
names reporting so far have beaten earnings forecasts, according
to Thomson Reuters data.
That would be the worst percentage of companies beating
earnings estimates since the fourth quarter of 2001 - should it
stay at the current level, the data showed.
"We've had a series of misses, topped off by DuPont's pretty
dismal earnings this morning," said Bruce Zaro, chief technical
strategist at Delta Global Asset Management, in Boston.
"Expectations were low and results have been coming in
generally lower, and that's why we're seeing weakness here," he
Zaro sees the S&P 500 possibly falling as low as the 1,390
to 1,400 range in the near term.
DuPont's stock lost 9.1 percent to $45.25 after the chemical
company reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit and
announced 1,500 job cuts. The stock was responsible for a
33-point drag on the Dow, which ended down more than 240 points.
The S&P materials sector index fell 3 percent,
largely because of DuPont.
Outlooks have been weak as well. DuPont, United Technologies
and 3M Co all cut their outlooks on Tuesday.
Apple's Chief Executive Tim Cook announced the iPad
and iPhone maker was launching a smaller, cheaper tablet. Its
8-inch tablet is expected to compete in a market staked out by
Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc. Apple shares
dropped 3.3 percent to $613.36.
Shares of elevator and air conditioner manufacturer United
Technologies were down 1 percent at $77.07 while 3M shares were
down 4.1 percent at $88.73.
The Dow Jones industrial average slid 243.36 points,
or 1.82 percent, to close at 13,102.53. The Standard & Poor's
500 Index fell 20.71 points, or 1.44 percent, to
1,413.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 26.49
points, or 0.88 percent, to end at 2,990.46.
After the bell, shares of Facebook shot up 8.6
percent to $21.18 as the world's No. 1 online social network
company posted a 32 percent jump in third-quarter revenue.
Facebook ended the regular session at $19.50, up
Shares of Netflix lost 16.5 percent to $57 after
the bell after it reported subscriber additions at the lower end
of its forecast for the U.S. TV and movie streaming business.
Netflix ended regular trading at $68.22, up 0.5
One outlier from the regular session was United Parcel
Service, which gained 3 percent to $73.73 despite
earnings that were viewed by some as disappointing. The Dow
Jones Transportation Average rose 0.9 percent.
Overall earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to fall
2.5 percent in the third quarter from a year ago, Thomson
Reuters data showed.
In a development reviving investors' worry about Europe,
Moody's downgraded five key Spanish regions by one or two
notches late on Monday, citing their limited cash reserves and
forthcoming bond repayments.
Volume was roughly 6.6 billion shares traded on the New York
Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, compared with the
year-to-date average daily closing volume of 6.52 billion.
Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a ratio of
about 11 to 4. On the Nasdaq, about five stocks fell for every
three that rose.