Wall St falls on weak profit expectations - New York Report

RENEWED fears of a slowdown in Chinese growth and another bout of selling in biotech shares yesterday forced US stocks lower.

Ending a seven sessions of rises, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 49.97 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 17,081.89, the S&P 500 lost 13.77 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 2,003.69 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 42.03 points, or 0.87 per cent, to 4,796.61.

Biotechs led the S&P 500 and Nasdaq lower and the S&P health care index, down 1.2 per cent, had the biggest losses among S&P sectors, followed by industrials, down 1.2 per cent. The Nasdaq Biotech Index was down 3.2 per cent, extending recent declines.

Worries about third-quarter earn­ings reports continued to weigh on sentiment. S&P 500 companies are expected to report a nearly five per cent fall in profit, the biggest decline in six years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“There’s a little nervousness about earnings reports that we'll be seeing over the next couple or three weeks,” said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston.

“The international situation contin­ues to weigh on people’s minds, and commodities were weaker earlier. In the absence of any strong new econ­omic data or blow-away type earnings results, people are still cautious, wait­ing for the Fed to decide on whether it’s going to raise rates or not,” he said.

Shares of Ryder System were down 9.3 per cent at $68.63 – the biggest percentage decliner in the S&P 500 – while FMC Corp was down 3.1 per cent at $36.35, both following disappointing forecasts late on Monday.