(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended on a negative note as investors eyed quarterly earnings from bellwether Alcoa and global growth concerns dented sentiment.
The S&P 500 Index shed 0.99 percent to finish at 1,441.48. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.81 percent to end at 13,473.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 1.52 percent to close at 3,065.02.
Investors exercised caution after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut global growth forecasts to 3.3 percent in 2012 from 3.5 percent, and to 3.6 percent from 3.9 percent for next year. The IMF estimates come a day after the World Bank cut its growth estimate for developing countries in East Asia and the Pacific.
In European news, finance ministers from the euro zone officially launched the 500 billion-euro ($649 billion) European Stability Mechanism (ESM) bailout fund. Concerns linger as to whether Spain will seek a bailout package after Prime Minister Mariyano Rajoy dismissed rumors of a financial rescue in the near term.
Investors expect a disappointing third-quarter earnings season, with more companies having guided lower-than-expected numbers, versus those with positive preannouncements.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: AA, EW, NFLX, OC, SPB, ANGO, SCSC, ISIL, RSH, CLR, DEST
In corporate news, Dow component Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) reported its results after the market closed. The company posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue, sending shares of the Dow component 1.53 percent higher in extended trading on Tuesday.
Edward Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE:EW) tumbled 21.20 percent after the company slashed its third-quarter sales outlook, citing lower-than-expected transcatheter heart valve sales. Atleast two brokerages have lowered their price targets on the stock.
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) plunged 10.85 percent after Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded shares of the online movie streaming company to "Underperform" from "Buy."
Owens Corning (NYSE:OC) tumbled 8.42 percent after the company cut its EBIT forecast for 2012, citing weaker near-term environment for its roofing and composites businesses.
Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. (NYSE:SPB) jumped 11.83 percent after the consumer products company agreed to acquire Stanley's Black & Decker Inc.'s (NYSE:SWK) Hardware & Home Improvement Group (HHI) for $1.4 billion in cash.
AngioDynamics Inc. (NASDAQ:ANGO) posted a quarterly loss and the diagnostic devices maker guided 2013 earnings below marker expectations. Shares tumbled 11.00 percent.
ScanSource Inc. (NASDAQ:SCSC) retreated 6.92 percent after the distributor of specialty technology products lowered its sales forecast for the first quarter, trailing market expectations. It sees quarterly sales of $730 million to $740 million, down from prior view of $740 million to $760 million.
Intersil Corp. (NASDAQ:ISIL) shed 3.97 percent after the developer of integrated circuits announced third-quarter preliminary revenue that were lower than forecast amid weakness in the worldwide personal computing business.
RadioShack Corp. (NYSE:RSH) surged 12.02 percent after Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded to the stock to "Buy" from "Underperform."
Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLR) rose 2.81 percent after the crude oil and natural gas explorer announced a new five-year growth plan to triple production and proved reserves by year-end 2017. It plans to generate average production of 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2017.
Destination Maternity Corp. (NASDAQ:DEST) jumped 5.56 percent after the retailer of maternity apparel forecast earnings for the fourth quarter to exceed the top end of its guidance and to "significantly exceed" last year levels.
European markets closed inthe red, with Germany's DAX dropping 0.78 percent to close at 7,234.53. France's CAC40 shed 0.70 percent to finish at 3,382.78. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 declined 0.54 percent to end at 5,810.25.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index jumped 1.97 percent to end at 2,115.23 Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 1.06 percent to finish at 8.769.59. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.54 percent to close at 20,937.28. India's BSE Sensex finished at 18,793.36, up 0.45 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures rose 3.12 percent to $92.12 per barrel, and natural gas futures added 2.15 percent to $3.476 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures fell 0.56 percent to $1,765.7 per ounce and silver futures slipped 0.29 percent to $33.92 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro slid 0.69 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2878. The British pound slipped 0.19 percent against the greenback to 1.5995, and the dollar edged 0.10 percent lower against the Japanese yen to 78.2500.