(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed in red as investors exercised caution ahead of speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and weak economic data from Europe and Japan raised global growth worries.
S&P 500 Index retreated 0.78 percent to finish at 1,399.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.81 percent to end at 13,000.71. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 1.05 percent to close at 3,048.71.
Investors look forward to Friday's speech by the Fed chief for any hints of further stimulus measures. Bernanke will address the Fed's annual symposium Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Also denting the sentiment was a report from Bloomberg that Spain will delay decision to seek a sovereign bailout until the aid terms are clear.
In global economic news, a report showed Eurozone economic sentiment dropped to a three-year low in August to 86.1, also coming in below economists forecast of 87.5. Japan's retail sales declined 0.8 percent in July, more than economists forecast for a drop of 0.1 percent, a release from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.
On the U.S. data front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits remained unchanged for the week ended August 25, a government data showed. Jobless claims were 374,000 last week, while economists projected a decline to 370,000 applications.
Meanwhile, U.S. personal income rose 0.3 percent and personal spending increased 0.4 percent for July, a data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed and matched economists expectations. For June, income rose 0.3 percent and spending fell less than 0.1 percent.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: CIEN,P,TIVO,KSS,LYB, SHLD,GPS,GMCR, VRA, FSLR, BRLI
In corporate news, Ciena Corp. (NASDAQ:CIEN) retreated 19.50 percent after the provider of networking services posted a wider-than-forecast quarterly loss and issued a downbeat revenue outlook, citing slower-than-expected roll-outs of new design wins.
Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE:P) jumped 14.29 percent after the Internet radio services company posted better-than-expected quarterly results and issued an upbeat forecast. Pandora reported breakeven earnings per share on a non-GAAP basis, versus market expectations of a loss of 3 cents a share for the second quarter.
TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ:TIVO) dropped as much as 6.7 percent after the digital-video company posted a quarterly loss as operating expenses jumped nearly 22 percent. A regulatory filing also showed hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen's SAC Capital raised its stake in TiVo to 5.2 percent or roughly 6.46 million shares. Shares closed 3.42 percent lower.
LyondellBasell Industries NV (NYSE:LYB) gained 3.80 percent. The Netherlands-based chemicals and polymers company will replace Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLD) in the S&P 500 after the close of trading on Tuesday, September 4. SHLD shares slumped 7.92 percent.
Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) rose 2.67 percent after the apparel company said comparable sales increased 9 percent in August on strong back-to-school sales, particularly at Old Navy.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR) shed 3.37 percent despite clarification from the company that a recall of the Mr. Coffee Single Cup Brewing System will not have an impact on its Keurig brewers.
Vera Bradley Inc. (NASDAQ:VRA) slumped 8.85 percent after the retailer of women accessories reported weaker-than-expected second quarter results due to rise in expenses and shrinking of gross margins. The company also issued a downbeat earnings guidance for the third quarter and also reduced its 2012 forecast.
First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) tumbled 18.60 percent after Bloomberg reported that the maker of solar modules was stopping deliveries to one its U.S. projects.
Bio-Reference Laboratories Inc. (NASDAQ:BRLI) lost 9.58 percent after the provider of laboratory testing services reported third-quarter revenue that missed Wall Street expectations.
European markets ended lower, with Germany's DAX falling 1.64 percent to close at 6,895.45. France's CAC40 declined 1.02 percent to finish at 3,379.11. U.K.'s FTSE 100 dropped 0.42 percent to end at 5,719.45.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dipped 0.03 percent to finish at 2,052.58. Japan's Nikkei 225 declined 0.95 percent to end at 8,983.78. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 1.19 percent to end at 19,552.91. India's BSE Sensex closed at 17,541.64, up 0.29 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures lost 0.72 percent to $94.80 per barrel while natural gas futures added 2.64 percent to $2.756 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures shed 0.23 percent to $1,659.2 per ounce and silver futures declined 1.45 percent to $30.475 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro slipped 0.18 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2508. The British pound dropped 0.28 percent against the greenback to 1.5788, and the dollar shed 0.06 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.6500.