U.S. STOCKS, BONDS
U.S. stocks Tuesday headed to their worst decline in four months as weaker earnings and concern about Spain heightened fears about the global economy. After a 262-point drop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lately off 207.7 points, or 1.6%, to 13,138.19, with chemical maker DuPont pacing its losses that included 28 of its 30 components.
UK car sales jump in November as EU sales touch 19-year low.
DuPont plans to cut 1,500 employees after reporting a quarterly profit below estimates. Two other Dow components added to investor worries. 3M Co. declined 3.9% after the manufacturer reported a 6.7% profit gain in the third quarter, but reduced its outlook for the full year. United Technologies Corp. pointed to soft demand from airlines in narrowing its sales outlook for 2012.
Breaking through the 1,420-support level not breached since early September, the S&P 500 index lost 16.50 points, or 1.2%, to 1,417.32, with all 10 of its sectors in the red. Flirting with what could be its first close below 3,000 since early August, the Nasdaq Composite was off 16.24 points, or 0.5%, at 3,000.72.
Apple Inc. shares slid 1.6% after the company unveiled a less expensive and smaller iPad at an event Tuesday in San Francisco. Monster Beverage Corp. declined 12% after Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut the maker of energy drinks from its conviction buy list.
EUROPEAN STOCK MARKETS
European stocks fell sharply Tuesday, with disappointing earnings weighing on shares on both sides of the Atlantic following results from such names as DuPont and Norsk Hydro.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 1.7% to close at 268.40. One of the biggest losers of the day was Mulberry Group PLC, which plunged nearly 24% after the luxury handbag maker warned full-year profits will be below that of last year owing to a more "challenging external environment" in Asia.
The wider sector responded with losses: Burberry Group PLC fell 3.2% in London, while LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton dropped 2.2% in Paris and French fashion group Christian Dior SA lost 3%. Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz fell 2.4%.
Also sharply lower, shares of Norsk Hydro ASA fell 5.2%. The Norwegian aluminum producer's chief executive, Svein Richard Brandtzaeg, said he expects a weak quarter due to low prices after the company posted a third-quarter loss.
Also in that sector, shares of BHP Billiton PLC lost 2.4% and Rio Tinto PLC dropped 1.9%. Shares of mobile-handset maker Nokia Corp. sank more than 5% after the firm said it would offer 750 million euros ($979 million) in convertible bonds to help manage debt issues.
Worries over Spain lingered. The IBEX 35 index dropped 1.6% to 7,747.70. Sanofi, BP weigh on indexes Drug, oil and banks were among the biggest losing sectors. Sanofi SA fell 3.2%, helping drag the French CAC 40 index down 2.2% to 3,406.50.
BP PLC fell 2.3% in London, helping drive a 1.4% loss for the FTSE 100 index to 5,797.91. The German DAX 30 index skidded 2.1% to 7,171.69, with industrial group Siemens AG down 1.4% and chemicals group BASF SE sinking more than 4% in the wake of DuPont's results.
ASIA-PACIFIC STOCK MARKETS
Asia stocks traded in a downbeat fashion Tuesday as dividend worries weighed on Japanese utility firms while concerns over lackluster third-quarter earnings dragged on shares in Shanghai.
Japan's Nikkei put in a flat performance, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.9% and South Korea's Kospi declined 0.8%. Singapore's Straits Times Index was up 0.2%.
Markets were closed for a holiday in Hong Kong, which made new headlines on the foreign-exchange front. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority intervened in the currency markets for a second time in less than a week on Tuesday, stepping in to sell the Hong Kong dollar in an attempt to halt appreciation of the currency after it traded near the lower channel of its trading band against the U.S. dollar.
Most Asian markets have gained so far this month, gains that have been made against emerging Asian economies that "are not really booming but [are] still quite robust," said Lucinda Chan, division director at Macquarie Private Wealth.
Dividend concerns weighed on the Japanese utility sector, as Kansai Electric Power Co. fell 13% after a Nikkei report that the electricity supplier won't pay a dividend at the end of the fiscal year.
This would be its first dividend omission in 61 years. Kansai Electric's rivals also traded lower, with shares of Chubu Electric Power Co. shedding 9.9% and Tokyo Electric Power Co. falling 1.5%.
Energy-sector firms likewise declined in Tokyo, with JX Holdings Inc. down 1.6% and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. down 1%. The pullback came after a 1.5% drop for crude-oil futures in New York Monday.
In South Korea, steel makers were adding pressure to the market, with Posco, the world's fourth-largest producer, trading 2.1% lower ahead of its earnings report late Tuesday. Hyundai Steel Co. declined 1.7% while Dongbu Steel Ltd. eased 0.1%.
Mainland-listed Chinese commodity firms were weak, with Aluminum Corp. of China trading down 1% in Shanghai. Mainland steel makers were also lower amid expected sluggish earnings and what's believed to be government plans for a forced consolidation of the sector. Shares of Angang Steel Co. fell 1.4% as Baoshan Iron & Steel retreated 0.2%.
Base metals closed in the red on the London Metal Exchange Tuesday, dragged into negative territory alongside broader financial markets amid fresh concerns over global growth.
At the close, LME three-month copper was down 1.5% at $7,831 a metric ton, having earlier fallen to $7,807.75/ton, its lowest price in more than six weeks.
Lead was the biggest loser of the complex, ending the session at $2,022/ton, down 2.2% on the previous day's close.
Crude futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 2.2% Tuesday, closing at the lowest level since mid-July against a backdrop of weak earnings results and growing concerns about the economy.
Nymex front-month futures for December delivery settled at $86.67 per barrel, down $1.98, the lowest settlement price since July 12. Brent oil futures were $1.17 lower at $108.27.
Industrially focused precious metals retreated as concern about global economic growth hit the demand prospects for platinum, palladium and silver.
Palladium for December delivery, the most actively traded contract, fell 4.6% to settle at $593.85 a troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Platinum for January delivery fell 2.3% to settle at $1,575.60 an ounce on the Nymex. Silver for December delivery fell 1.4% to settle at $31.793 a troy ounce on the Comex division of Nymex. The most actively traded gold contract, for December delivery, settled down $16.90, or 1%, at $1,709.40 a troy ounce. Compiled from MORRISON SECURITIES PTY. LTD.
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