Stock indexes closed down broadly Tuesday as investors awaited earnings from the few companies yet to announce results and a jobs report later this week. The Nasdaq fell below 5,000 a day after passing that milestone for the first time since the dot-com bubble 15 years ago.
At the close on Wall Street, the Nasdaq composite was down 28.2 points, or about 0.6 percent, at 4,980. The Dow Jones industrial average was off 85.3 points, or about 0.5 percent, at 18,203.4. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up 9.6 points, or about 0.5 percent, to 2,107.8.
U.S. crude oil ended the day was down 1.1 percent at $49.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
NASDAQ MILESTONE: The drop in the Nasdaq follows a 0.9 percent gain on Monday that put it just 40 points from its 5,048.62 peak reached March 10, 2000. The index has changed significantly since then. Gone is the heavy weighting of telecommunications stocks and big bets on Internet companies with little or no earnings.
FORD'S FIZZLE: Ford's U.S. sales fell 1.9 percent last month as dealers lacked the inventory to meet demand for the new F-150 pickup truck. Its stock dropped 42 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $16.14.
General Motors and Chrysler reported gains, but they were smaller than expected. Freezing temperatures and snow kept buyers away from dealers.
DIVIDEND HIKE: Best Buy gained 55 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $39.18 after it said it would raise its dividend 21 percent and give shareholders an additional one-time payment. The nation's biggest electronics chain also reported fourth-quarter earnings that were higher than financial analysts had expected.
EARNINGS SO FAR: With nearly all companies in the S&P 500 having reported their latest quarterly results, earnings per share for companies in the S&P 500 index are expected to have risen a healthy 7.7 percent, according to S&P Capital IQ. But financial analysts expect earnings to drop compared to the year-earlier periods for the next two quarters.
SUNNY CEOS: The outlook for sales at big U.S. companies over the next six months hasn't been this good in three years, according to a survey of top CEOs released Tuesday by the lobbying group Business Roundtable.