International Business Machines, General Electric and Microsoft fell short of revenue expectations, creating a sour mood early in the third-quarter reporting period.
The third quarter is among the most important for investors and economists because it is when companies begin to give a better picture of what the following year may look like.
The pace of earnings reports will accelerate this week, with eight Dow components and 155 S&P 500 companies scheduled to release results, including tech heavyweight Apple.
Just 38 per cent of S&P 500 companies beat expectations on revenue in the past week, compared with 41 per cent since the start of the reporting period, and well below the 62 per cent long-term average, Thomson Reuters data showed.
On the earnings side, the data has been slightly more upbeat: 62 per cent of companies that reported last week beat expectations versus 60.3 per cent since the start of the earnings period, and the 62 per cent long-term average, the data showed.