* Investors continue to watch geopolitical tensions
* Energy shares lead losses in S&P
* Kate Spade plunges 23 pct in busiest trading day
* Dow down 0.2 pct, S&P 500 down 0.3 percent, Nasdaq down
(Updates to afternoon trading, changes quote)
By Akane Otani
NEW YORK, Aug 12 U.S. stocks fell modestly on
Tuesday afternoon, with energy shares leading losses as
investors monitored developments in Russia and Ukraine and the
price of oil fell.
Losses were broad, and seven of the S&P 500's ten primary
sectors were down in afternoon trading. Telecom services
gained 0.5 percent, while on the tail end, energy
and consumer discretionary shares dragged.
Traders rushed to sell shares of handbag and accessories
retailer Kate Spade & Co, which plummeted 23.5 percent
to $29.72 in its busiest day of trading ever.
Better-than-expected sales had helped lift shares to a
seven-year-high in early trading, but the stock reversed course
after the company warned that gross margins would be weaker than
expected for the year.
Russia sent a convoy of 280 trucks carrying humanitarian aid
to eastern Ukraine on Tuesday. Western officials had been wary
of the gesture, fearing Russia would use the guise of a
humanitarian mission to invade Ukraine, but the Russian Foreign
Ministry said it would hand off the convoy to the Red Cross
after crossing the border.
Investors also kept an eye on Iraq, where the U.S. ruled out
sending combat forces but said it would consider "additional
political, economic and security options" to help its new prime
minister-designate transition into office.
"This is another lull in the market. With earnings season
basically done and people on vacation, any little bit of news
will move the market," said Malcolm Polley, president and chief
investment officer of Stewart Capital Advisors in Indiana,
"We already know the Middle East is unstable and that Russia
is sending an aid convoy to Ukraine, so this is all the
continuation of a longer-term issue that has been boiling for a
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 19.42 points,
or 0.12 percent, to 16,550.56, the S&P 500 was down 4.32
points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,932.6 and the Nasdaq Composite
lost 16.66 points, or 0.38 percent, to 4,384.67.
Biotech company Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, which is
developing an Ebola treatment, saw its shares plunge 21 percent
after a recent rally in the stock. The World Health Organization
said it backed the use of experimental Ebola drugs to treat the
outbreak in West Africa.
Sharp declines in oil prices sent the S&P 500 energy index
down 0.8 percent. Consol Energy was down 2.4
percent to $39.49 and Pioneer Natural Resources Company
fell 2.3 percent to $203.95. Brent crude oil fell to a
(Editing by Nick Zieminski)