US STOCKS-Wall St falls as government debt deal remains elusive
* House Republicans divided over solution to fiscal impasse
Citigroup profit hit by bond trading slowdown, but shares rebound
* Volume reduced as investors watch fiscal negotiations
* Indexes off: Dow 0.8 pct; S&P 0.7 pct; Nasdaq 0.6 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Oct 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell in a thin session on Tuesday, with trading continued to be driven by the ongoing impasse over the debt ceiling in Washington, which overshadowed some key corporate earnings.
Selling accelerated in afternoon trading, with all 10 S&P 500 sectors falling on the day and about 70 percent of stocks traded on both the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq lower.
Lawmakers have until Oct. 17 to agree to extend the $16.7 trillion U.S. borrowing limit or the country will risk an unprecedented debt default. The White House and Senate rejected the House's latest offer, while Republican leaders also failed to get support for the plan from rank and file members within their party.
Markets have largely avoided steep losses on optimism that lawmakers would agree to end the partial government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. At the same time, volatility has spiked as the deadline approaches with little obvious progress seen. The CBOE Volatility index jumped 11 percent and is up 36 percent over the past four weeks.
"The odds that there won't be a deal over the next month are near zero, but there is some chance we won't see something by the 17th. If that happens ... we could easily correct 3-5 percent," said Jim McDonald, who helps oversee $803 billion as chief investment strategist at Chicago-based Northern Trust Global Investments.
"While the market has climbed over the past two weeks," he added, "that would reverse if there was any real concern" about missing the deadline.
Among other assets, crude oil fell 1.4 percent while gold, which is viewed as a safe haven, rose 1.1 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 116.06 points, or 0.76 percent, at 15,185.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 11.64 points, or 0.68 percent, at 1,698.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 21.46 points, or 0.56 percent, at 3,793.82.
Despite the day's decline, the S&P remains comfortably above its key moving averages. The index is currently 0.6 percent above its 14-day moving average.
The situation in Washington has driven trading lately, overshadowing the beginning of a busy week of earnings. Citigroup Inc reported weaker-than-expected results as the bank was hit by a double-digit drop in bond trading revenue for the quarter, sending shares down 1.5 percent to $48.84.
Johnson & Johnson reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results on strong growth for its prescription drugs, while Coca-Cola Co reported revenue slightly under expectations.
J&J rose 0.5 percent to $90.25 while Coca-Cola fell 0.5 percent to $37.72. Both companies are Dow components.
Shares of Teradata Corp fell 16.8 percent to $43.77, a day after the data analytics firm cut its full-year earnings forecast by about 10 percent.
With 7 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported, 52.8 percent have reported profits that topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, below the historical average of 63 percent. There have also been fewer companies beating revenue forecasts this quarter.
FedEx, the world's No. 2 package carrier, authorized a share repurchase program of up to 32 million of its outstanding shares of common stock, sending shares up 4 percent to $120.01.
On the downside, J.C. Penney Co Inc sank 7.4 percent to $7.29 as a company spokesperson denied a market rumor that the department store chain had hired bankruptcy counsel. The stock has fallen 63 percent so far this year.
Data showed the pace of growth in New York state's manufacturing sector slipped this month to its slowest since May, but business optimism stayed strong.