Weak results from IBM, United Technologies and other companies pulled stocks down Tuesday. Telecommunications stocks were among the biggest decliners. Apple and Microsoft were among the other big-name companies reporting earnings later in the day.
At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 181.1 points, about 1 percent, at 17,919.3. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up 9.1 points, about 0.4 percent, to 2,119.2. The Nasdaq composite lost 10.7 points, about 0.2 percent, to 5,208.1.
About the same time, the price of the Sept. 15 contract for benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 27 cents to $50.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The price of gold, which began sliding Sunday, was down $7 at $1,099.80 an ounce.
THE QUOTE: "Today's weakness is somewhat expected," said analyst Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. "Investors appear to be in a listen-only mode as we await greater clarity on second-quarter results."
REVENUE MISS: IBM slumped 6.1 percent following a mixed earnings report late Tuesday. The business software company delivered better-than-expected earnings, but its revenue fell short of financial analysts' forecasts. The stock slumped $10.53 to $162.69.
ROUGH QUARTER: United Technologies slid 7.6 percent after the aerospace giant's latest earnings didn't meet forecasts. The company also cut its outlook for 2015, citing weaker sales of Otis elevators in Europe and China's slowing economy. The stock lost $8.45 to $102.03.
DIVIDEND GONE: Chesapeake Energy slid 5.6 percent on news that the energy company has axed its annual dividend and will redirect the money into its 2016 capital spending program. The move comes as natural gas and crude are in an extended decline with few signs of a rebound. The stock lost 58 cents to $9.69.
ALL ABOUT EARNINGS: About 60 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 report over the next two weeks. Investors are combing the results to get a read on how the economy is doing. But it's still early. Roughly 12 percent of the S&P 500 companies have reported so far; some 70 percent of them have beaten Wall Street's already low expectations.
SECTOR WATCH: Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index declined, with telecommunications stocks falling the most. The sector was down 2.7 percent. Energy stocks rose slightly.
HIGH ON THE HOG: Harley-Davidson surged after the motorcycle maker's second-quarter earnings beat Wall Street expectations. The stock added $2.12, or 3.9 percent, to $57.06.