Stocks slumped Thursday, the third down day in a row for the indexes. Disappointing earnings and outlooks from several big companies, including American Express, Caterpillar and 3M weighed on the market. Utilities stocks were among the biggest decliners.
At the close on Wall Street, the Dow was down 119.1 points, about 0.7 percent, at nearly 17,732. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 12 points, about 0.6 percent, at 2,102.2. The Nasdaq composite lost 25.4 points, about 0.5 percent, to 5,146.4.
About the same time, the price of benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 42 cents to $48.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 86 cents to close at $55.27 a barrel in London.
SIZING UP EARNINGS: Roughly one-third of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported earnings so far, and most have exceeded Wall Street's expectations. Many companies have also given cautious outlooks for the second half of the year, however, giving investors reason to pause.
"Between the good news of making or beating expectations but giving some cautious guidance going forward, the market may be just sitting and waiting to see how the rest of the [earnings] announcements come in," said analyst Tim Dreiling, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
BLUE-CHIP BAGGAGE: American Express, Caterpillar and 3M all released weaker-than-expected results, helping pull the Dow into negative territory for the year.
SECTOR VIEW: The 10 sectors in the S&P 500 were down. Utilities stocks fell the most, 1.8 percent.