Stocks fall as depressing earnings outweigh new Fed moves


Washington : Wall Street stocks posted significant losses Tuesday on disappointing profit reports from technology and commodity producers, overshadowing another massive infusion of liquidity by the Federal Reserve.

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Metals giant Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc reported a 33-percent drop in third-quarter earnings. Tech firms Texas Instruments Inc and Sun Microsystems Inc also reported worse-than-expected profits.

Stocks had started the day higher after the US central bank offered as much as $540 billion in loans to free up money market mutual funds, a one-time secure sector that investors have fled from during the spreading financial crisis.

But the rally didn’t hold amid fears that a wave of earnings reports due this week could offer fresh glimpses into the sharp economic slowdown in the US.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 231.77 points, or 2.5 percent, to 9,033.66. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 was down 30.35 points, or 3.08 percent, to 955.05. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index plunged 73.35 points, or 4.14 percent, to 1,696.68.

The Dow and S&P 500 both climbed more than 4.5 percent Monday, following a strong rally last week.

On currency markets, the dollar rose to its highest level in 19 months against the euro to 76.49 euro cents from 74.94 euro cents Monday. The US currency dropped against the Japanese yen to 100.24 yen from 101.96 yen Monday.