US technology stocks drive down markets

U S stocks fell for a fourth day yesterday as more pessimism from American companies compounded worries the sluggish world economy is taking a toll on US profit growth.

A sales warning from engine maker Cummins came on top of earlier weak forecasts from chipmakers Applied Materials and Advanced Micro Devices, causing the market to extend losses in afternoon trading.

The news sent the S&P 500 down for a fourth consecutive day, the index’s longest downward streak since May when it fell for six straight days.

Shares of industrials fell the most at 1.6 per cent. Cummins was among the biggest losers, declining 8.9 per cent to $86.91.

Alcoa, which kicked off the earnings period, fell 4.1 per cent to $8.40, a day after it reported a quarterly loss and lower sales.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 83.17 points, or 0.65 per cent, at 12,653.12. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 10.99 points, or 0.81 per cent, at 1,341.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 29.44 points, or one per cent, at 2,902.33.

Bank stocks also declined, with the euro hitting a two-year low against the dollar amid uncertainty about progress in tackling the euro zone crisis. The KBW Bank index fell 0.9 per cent.

Advanced Micro Devices tumbled 11.2 per cent to $4.99 after the chipmaker slashed its outlook for second-quarter, while Applied Materials lost 2.7 per cent to $10.71.

US-listed shares of Research In Motion fell five per cent to $7.29.