(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a sharply lower note as disappointing earnings and guidance from companies including DuPont, United Technologies and 3M, continued to dent sentiment.
The S&P 500 Index lost 1.44 percent to end at 1,413.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 1.82 percent to finish at 13,102.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.88 percent to close at 2,990.50.
On the economic front, the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting started on Tuesday, with an announcement on interest rates expected Wednesday.
There were no major U.S. economic data scheduled for the day.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: DD, AAPL, MMM, XRX, UPS, UTX, YHOO, COH, HOG, WDC
In corporate news, DuPont (NYSE: DD) slumped 9.06 percent after the chemical company reported a sharp fall in third-quarter profit amid a 9 percent decline in sales. The company also said it would slash roughly 1,500 jobs, or 2 percent, of its global work force.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) declined 3.26 percent. The technology behemoth unveiled an "iPad Mini" that is 23 percent thinner and 53 percent lighter than the third generation iPad. AAPL is pricing the low-end iPad Mini (16GB/Wi-Fi only) at $329, over a 50 percent premium to some of the other 7" tablets out, FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said.
3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) declined 4.11 percent after the diversified technology company reduced its earnings forecast and posted an unexpected decline in sales due to tough economic conditions and currency impacts.
Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX) dropped 5.12 percent after the printer and copier company posted a 12 percent drop in quarterly earnings and sales trailed market expectations.
United Parcel Service Inc. (NYSE: UPS) posted a fall in earnings and revenue for the third quarter as operating expenses rose, and the package-delivery giant updated its 2012 forecast. The company reported revenue growth in the U.S. domestic package sector. Shares added 3.03 percent.
United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) reported a drop in quarterly earnings and the industrial conglomerate cut its 2012 sales forecast, citing the lack of recovery in the commercial aerospace aftermarket and continued uncertainty in the global economy. Shares fell 0.98 percent.
Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) jumped 5.71 percent after the struggling Internet company posted better-than-estimated quarterly earnings.
Coach Inc. (NYSE: COH) surged 7.35 percent after the marketer of fine accessories posted a rise in first-quarter earnings and announced a $1.5 billion share repurchase program.
Harley-Davidson Inc. (NYSE: HOG) gained 7.72 percent after the maker of heavyweight motorcycles posted better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter. The company posted a drop in quarterly profit as a fall in motorcycle shipments hurt revenue.
Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) lost 2.41 percent after the data storage company issued a downbeat second-quarter outlook. The company posted a jump in first-quarter earnings. CLSA downgraded the stock to "underperform" from "outperform". FBN Securities lowered its price target to $40 from $45.
European markets ended sharply lower amid lingering concerns over Spain, with Germany's DAX down 2.11 percent to close at 7,173.69. France's CAC40 declined 2.20 percent to finish at 3,406.50. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed 1.44 percent to end at 5,797.91.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dropped 0.86 percent to end at 2,114.45. Japan's Nikkei 225 inched 0.04 percent higher to finish at 9,014.25. India's BSE Sensex finished at 18,710.02, down 0.44 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was shut for a holiday.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures dropped 2.27 percent to $86.64 per barrel, while natural gas futures gained 2.29 percent to $3.531 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures shed 1.08 percent to $1,707.6 per ounce and silver futures fell 1.88 percent to $32.25 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro dropped 0.61 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2980. The British pound declined 0.40 percent against the greenback to 1.5950, and the dollar slipped 0.13 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.8500.