A grim combination of higher oil prices and lowered outlooks from companies including Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever and New York Times Co. sent stocks sliding Monday. Blue chips bore the brunt of the selling.
The negative news from Colgate-Palmolive, its first profit warning in nearly a decade, and a brokerage downgrade of Citigroup pressured the Dow Jones industrials. Trading was light, as many investors stuck to the sidelines ahead of a key meeting of the Federal Reserve. But analysts noted unusually strong performance among semiconductor shares despite forecasts of slower growth from chipmakers.
"It seems a contrarian view is developing in the tech sector. There's a feeling that they're probably oversold, and as a result we're seeing investors having second thoughts about unloading them," said Peter Cardillo, chief strategist with S.W. Bach & Co. "Unfortunately, the market as a whole is going to continue to live with this oil issue; there's no indication prices are going to collapse anytime soon, so it will remain a daily focus."
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 79.57, or 0.8 percent, to 10,204.89. The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index, buoyed by chip stocks early in the session, gave back those gains and closed down 2.02, or 0.1 percent, at 1908.07. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index shed 6.35, or 0.6 percent, to 1122.20.
Growing anxiety about global oil supply sent crude futures higher as beleaguered Russian oil giant Yukos announced plans to stop shipments to China.
Colgate-Palmolive fell 11.2 percent, or $6.10, to $48.23, after the consumer products giant warned its second-half results would be lower than expected.
Consumer products maker Unilever shed 5.2 percent, or $1.82, to $33.22, after reducing its outlook for the year, citing poor weather, weak consumer confidence in Europe and tough competition in Asia. Dow component Procter & Gamble, the top U.S. maker of household products, fell $1.88, to $54.38.
New York Times Co. fell 64 cents, to $40.16, after the newspaper publisher lowered its earnings forecast for the year and warned that results for the current quarter will fall below estimates because of declining revenue growth in September.
Among advancers, Nike gained $1.44, to $78, after the world's largest sneaker and athletic apparel manufacturer reported strong quarterly earnings, beating Wall Street estimates by 10 cents per share. The results reflect a 10 percent jump in worldwide orders, and a 12 percent increase in the United States.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 38.10, to 6565.90; the American Stock Exchange index fell 3.85, to 1243.93; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 2.43, to 570.74.
* Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones by 3 to 2 on the NYSE, where trading volume fell to 1.19 billion shares, from 1.43 billion on Friday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, decliners outnumbered advancers by 7 to 5 and volume totaled 1.54 billion, down from 1.58 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note rose $4.38 per $1,000 invested, and its yield fell to 4.06 percent, from 4.11 percent on Friday.
* The dollar fell against the Japanese yen and rose against the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 109.86 yen, down from 109.91 late Friday, and a euro bought $1.2165, down from $1.2178.
* Light, sweet crude oil for October delivery settled at $46.35, up 76 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery fell to $405.30 a troy ounce, from $405.80 on Friday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.