Stocks resumed their decline Thursday as investors, concerned that slumping retail sales would further slow the economy, abandoned small-cap and technology shares. The Nasdaq composite index extended its loss for the month to 112 points, while the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell into negative territory for the year.
Wal-Mart Stores, which reported weaker-than-expected June sales because of cooler weather, joined Target and other retailers in an overall lackluster retail showing. Consumer spending is the biggest catalyst in the economy, and investors worried about the impact the lack of spending would have on corporate earnings.
Yahoo's earnings report, which disappointed investors because of a lower-than-expected outlook, helped drive tech stocks lower.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 68.73, or 0.7 percent, to 10,171.56. It was the fourth loss in the five trading sessions so far this month. The S&P 500 dropped 9.22, or 0.8 percent, to 1109.11, and the tech-focused Nasdaq declined 30.76, or 1.6 percent, to 1935.32.
Some analysts were happy that despite the bad news -- which also included oil prices topping $40 a barrel and new warnings of terror threats in the United States -- the market's losses weren't greater.
"Considering all the bad news out on the tape today, things could be worse. You can't really point to a lot of good news out there right now," said Bryan Piskorowski, market analyst at Wachovia Securities. "It's ugly, but it looks like the market's trying to hold tight and wait for those second-quarter earnings results."
Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, said its same-store sales -- sales in individual stores open more than a year -- climbed 2.2 percent in June, far from the 3.6 percent that analysts had expected. Rival Target's sales were similarly disappointing. Wal-Mart slipped 14 cents, to $52.18, while Target fell 69 cents, to $40.80. J.C. Penney gained $1.91, to $38.12, after the clothing retailer bucked the trend and reported stronger June sales.
Yahoo slid $2.52, to $30.08, one day after its earnings came out. While the current quarter was in line with Wall Street expectations, investors expected a better outlook.
Dow component Alcoa fell 22 cents, to $32.55, after reporting earnings late Wednesday that were a penny shy of analysts' estimates. Financial services company Cendant gave a positive earnings outlook, saying it would top its quarterly profit estimates by 2 to 3 cents per share. Cendant jumped 78 cents, to $24.94.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 45.13, to 6473.58; the American Stock Exchange index fell 2.52, to 1255.05; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 11.32, to 560.71.
* Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones by 2 to 1 on the NYSE, where trading volume rose to 1.4 billion shares, from 1.32 billion on Wednesday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, decliners outnumbered advancers by 10 to 3 and volume totaled 1.77 billion, up from 1.73 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note rose 63 cents per $1,000 invested, and its yield remained at 4.47 percent.
* The dollar rose against the Japanese yen and fell against the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 108.77 yen, up from 108.45 late Wednesday, and a euro bought $1.2390, up from $1.2367.
* Light, sweet crude oil for August delivery settled at $40.33, up $1.25, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery rose to $407.80 a troy ounce, from $402.30 on Wednesday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.