(By Balachander) U.S. stocks extended their losses to close in red as disappointing guidance from companies, including bellwether Alcoa and Chevron, raised worries about global economic growth.
The S&P 500 Index shed 0.62 percent to end at 1,432.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.95 percent to finish at 13,344.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.43 percent to close at 3,051.78.
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, CVX, WMT, FDX, YUM, HELE, TRLG, CMI, AVT, HRB, ESE, OCZ
In corporate news, Dow component Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) retreated 4.60 percent after the company moderated its global aluminum demand forecast to 6 percent from 7 percent for 2012 amid a slowdown in China. Alcoa, however, posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX) shed 4.18 percent after the company said it expects earnings for the third quarter to be "substantially lower" than the prior quarter due to lower results at its production as well as refining segments.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) added as much as 3.5 percent after the retail giant outlined its financial priorities for next fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2014. CEO Mike Duke said Walmart business around the world is "strong and getting stronger", and U.S. business is "in a very good place" and making progress on a number of fronts that are driving strong comp sales.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) jumped 5.15 percent after the economic bellwether announced plans targeting annual profitability improvement of $1.7 billion by the end of fiscal 2016, with a significant portion of the benefits achieved by fiscal 2015.
Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE:YUM) rose 8.04 percent after the restaurant chain raised its guidance for the full year following 23 percent increase in quarterly earnings.
Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) dropped 3.36 percent after the diesel engine maker cut its revenue guidance for 2012 and announced plans to slash up to 1500 jobs and shut down some manufacturing facilities to reduce costs.
Helen of Troy Ltd. (NASDAQ:HELE) tumbled 11.92 percent after the consumer products company reduced its earnings forecast for fiscal 2013 again and it posted lower quarterly profit as higher costs offset growth in sales.
Avnet Inc. (NYSE:AVT) fell 4.34 percent after the distributor of electronic components reduced its earnings forecast for the first quarter, saying uncertain macroeconomic conditions continue to hurt key areas of end demand in its served markets.
True Religion Apparel Inc. (NASDAQ:TRLG) surged 22.37 percent after the Vernon, California-based fashion apparel company said it is looking at strategic alternatives, including a possible a sale of itself to maximize shareholder value.
H&R Block Inc. (NYSE:HRB) lost 5.39 percent after the company said it is exploring strategic alternatives for H&R Block Bank, that could result in H&R Block Inc. no longer being regulated by the Federal Reserve as a savings and loan holding company.
ESCO Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ESE) plunged 7.74 percent after the producer of engineered systems said full-year pretax earnings will be lower than previously communicated.
OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ:OCZ) tanked 40.32 percent after the maker of solid-state drives forecast a loss, lower-than-expected revenue and negative gross margins for the second quarter.
European markets ended on a negative note, with Germany's DAX down 0.41 percent to close at 7,205.23. France's CAC40 shed 0.50 percent to finish at 3,365.87. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 dropped 0.58 percent to end at 5,776.71.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index added 0.21 percent to end at 2,119.94 Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 1.98 percent to finish at 8.596.23. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dipped 0.08 percent to close at 20,919.60. India's BSE Sensex finished at 18,631.10, down 0.86 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures fell 1.04 percent to $91.43 per barrel, while natural gas futures added 0.12 percent to $3.471 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures edged 0.01 percent lower to $1,764.8 per ounce while silver futures gained 0.22 percent to $34.06 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro rose 0.10 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2898. The British pound inched 0.03 percent higher against the greenback to 1.6009, while the dollar dipped 0.12 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.1600.