Stocks closed near session lows Tuesday, with most key S&P sectors finishing in the red, amid fears over slowing global growth and ahead of what many expect will be a weak earnings season.
“Looks like the market feels exhausted—we’ve been in this 1,440 to 1,460 range for a good three weeks and nothing’s getting any better,” said Kenny Polcari, managing director at ICAP Equities.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 110.12 points, or 0.81 percent, to end at 13,473.53, led by Intel , which hit a new 52-week low.
The S&P 500 declined 14.40 points, or 0.99 percent, to finish at 1,441.48. The Nasdaq tumbled 47.33 points, or 1.52 percent, to close at 3,065.02.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, jumped above 16.
Among the key S&P sectors, techs and consumer discretionary led the laggards, while energy eked out a small gain.
Wells Fargo dropped after Manhattan U.S. attorney filed a mortgage fraud lawsuit against the bank. Bank of America also slipped following the news.
Meanwhile, U.S. regulators approved a plan that would give smaller banks an extra year before they must begin conducting annual stress tests to determine if they can withstand a financial shock. The plan would require banks with assets over $10 billion to run tests every year.
“Global growth worries continue to be an issue and that’s got everyone on edge as we head into earnings season,” said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. “Still, the bigger picture is that this market caught a lot of people flat footed this year, and even with the disconnect, all the money on the sidelines coming in could help boost stocks through the year end.”
Oil prices spiked 3 percentas tensions in the Middle East escalated, countering concerns over slower economic growth.
Apple pared losses but still ended in the red after Nomura initiated coverage of the iPhone maker with a "neutral" rating and a price target of $710. Apple entered correction territory, trading down 10 percent from its all-time high. (Read More: Apple's Stock Is Down Over 10%—Time to Buy?)
Third-quarter earnings season kicks off with results from Dow component Alcoa after the closing bell. Analysts expect the aluminum producer to post a break-even quarter, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Yum Brands is also scheduled to post earnings.
Recent earnings warnings from large multinationals such as FedEx, Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard have made investors cautious about corporate profits. (Read More:US Braces for Worst Earnings Season Since 2009)
Edwards Lifesciences plunged after the medical-device maker slashed its third-quarter revenue forecast.
Earlier, the IMF cut its global growth forecast for 2012 to its slowest since 2009. It warned U.S. and European policymakers that failure to fix their economic problems would prolong the slump, and forecast China's growth would weaken to 7.8 percent this year.
Spectrum Brands Holdings said it will buy a unit of Stanley Black & Decker that makes door locks and bath fixtures in a deal worth $1.4 billion.
RadioShack soared after the consumer-electronics retailer was upgraded to "buy" from "underperform" at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Meanwhile, Netflix slumped after BofA downgraded the online movie streaming company to "underperform" from "buy."
On the economic front, small business sentiment dipped 0.1 point to 92.8 in September, weakening for the fourth time in five monthsas fewer owners expected to add staff and make capital investments, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
The government auctioned $32 billion in 3-year notes at ahigh yield of 0.346 percent and bid-to-cover of 3.96. The bond market was closed on Monday in observance of the Columbus Day holiday.
—By CNBC’s JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up This Week:
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, wholesale trade, 10-yr note auction, Beige Book, Treasury budget, Wal-Mart investors mtg; Earnings from Costco
THURSDAY: International trade, jobless claims, import/export prices, oil inventories, 30-yr bond auction
FRIDAY: PPI, consumer sentiment, GM resumes Volt production; Earnings from JPMorgan, Wells Fargo
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