Stocks opened sharply lower and although the averages are off their worst levels near midday, there has been little in the way of a bounce. A post-earnings slide in Caterpillar (CAT) has pushed the Dow Industrials index to a four-month low. Meanwhile, with today's drop, more than 200 of the S&P 500 stocks are now in bear market territory as they trade 20% or more below their 52-week highs.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Richmond Fed's manufacturing index dove 14 points to 15 in October after rising to a record high of 29 in September.
COMPANY NEWS: Five members of the Dow reported earnings this morning, with mixed results. McDonald's (MCD) was the leader among the group, rising 5% after its earnings and revenues topped consensus forecasts and its global comparable sales increased 4.2% in the third quarter compared to last year. Caterpillar was the worst performer, sliding 8% after its Q3 results and FY18 guidance. 3M (MMM), which lowered its FY18 adjusted earnings view due to foreign currency impacts, joined Caterpillar in the red, falling 6%. United Technologies (UTX), which raised its fiscal year earnings outlook, gained 0.5% and Verizon (VZ), which posted better than expected earnings and revenue, rose over 3.5%.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Tesla (TSLA), which gained 5.5% after noted short-seller Citron Research reversed its opinion on the stock, saying it is long Tesla shares heading into the company's quarterly earnings report.
Also higher were Cadence Design (CDNS) and PulteGroup (PHM), which gained a respective 11% and 6.5% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Applied Materials (AMAT), which was 1.5% lower after Susquehanna analyst Mehdi Hosseini downgraded the stock to Neutral from Positive.
Also lower were Moelis (MC) and Centene (CNC), which fell 15% and 7.5%, respectively, after reporting quarterly results.
INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was down 476.26, or 1.88%, to 24,841.15, the Nasdaq was down 158.22, or 2.12%, to 7,310.41, and the S&P 500 was down 53.31, or 1.93%, to 2,702.57.