Stocks fell sharply on Monday after weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings and guidance from Caterpillar, as well as a big revenue forecast cut from chipmaker Nvidia, stoked fears about the Chinese economy slowing.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 208.98 points to 24,528.22 as Caterpillar lagged. The S&P 500 dropped 0.8 percent to 2,643.85, led lower by the tech, communications services and health care sectors. The Nasdaq Composite declined 1.1 percent to close at 7,085.68 as Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Facebook all fell at least 0.9 percent.
Monday's decline came after the Dow and Nasdaq notched their fifth straight weekly gain last week. The major indexes have been climbing back since a December plunge that culminated in a sharp decline on Christmas Eve. In that time, the major indexes have jumped at least 12 percent.
Caterpillar shares fell 9.1 percent after the industrial giant posted weaker-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter. The company said its sales in the Asia/Pacific region declined because of lower demand in China. Caterpillar is considered a bellwether for global trade given the company's exposure to overseas markets. The company also issued disappointing guidance.
Nvidia, meanwhile, dropped 13.8 percent after slashing its fourth-quarter revenue guidance to $2.2 billion from $2.7 billion. The chipmaker said "deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, particularly in China," impacted demand for its graphics processing units.
"The one thing with China is it's not a made-up story. It's not like companies are blaming just the Fed or the weather," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. "As we go through the week, if this becomes a theme in many different sectors, it's going to lend urgency to the idea that the global economy is slowing and the need for more stimulus."