New York Report: US stocks down but Caterpillar climbs higher

US STOCKS extended recent losses yesterday, with the S&P 500 falling for a third straight session as concern grew about the Federal Reserve’s plans for withdrawing stimulus.

The losses, which picked up late in the session after the S&P 500 briefly traded in positive territory, followed a steep selloff late last week tied to emerging market concerns. The slide gave the S&P 500 its worst weekly percentage loss since June 2012.

Limiting losses in the Dow and S&P 500, however, was Caterpillar. The stock jumped 5.9 per cent to $91.29 after the maker of mining and construction equipment reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit.

The technology sector led the day's decline, with the S&P 500 technology sector index falling one per cent and the Nasdaq underperforming both the Dow and S&P 500. Google, off two per cent at $1,101.23, and Microsoft, down 2.1 per cent at $36.03, were among the day’s biggest drags.

The Fed’s two-day policy meeting begins today. Many market participants are bracing for the market to sell if the Fed decides to keep withdrawing stimulus. In December, the Fed announced plans to begin scaling back its massive bond-buying programme.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 41.23 points or 0.26 per cent, to end at 15,837.88. For the Dow, yesterday marked a fifth session of losses. The S&P 500 dropped 8.73 points or 0.49 per cent, to finish at 1,781.56. The Nasdaq Composite slid 44.56 points or 1.08 per cent, to close at 4,083.61.