"The primary focus, in our opinion, will be on whether Q3 results will indeed be the trough in this earnings cycle and if forward quarters will exhibit a gradual acceleration in growth," said Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ. "The bar has been set so low for third-quarter S&P 500 earnings per share growth that some would say it is 'underground.'"
The FTSE 100 in London closed down 0.19% and the DAX in Germany finished down 0.28% on Tuesday. The Nikkei Average in Japan closed down 0.12% amid concerns over the outlook for corporate earnings. Hong Kong's market was closed for a public holiday.
November crude oil futures fell 59 cents to settle at $91.89 a barrel. December gold futures closed down $7.70 at $1,775.60 an ounce.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury rose 1/32, diluting the yield to 1.626%. The greenback lost 0.09%, according to the dollar index.In corporate news, Mosaic (MOS) shares tumbled 3.9% after the fertilizer company reported a fiscal first-quarter net income that declined 18%, with results coming in below expectations, weighed down by production issues that hurt sales volumes and weaker prices for its phosphate fertilizer. Automaker Ford (F) said its September U.S. sales fell 0.1%; analysts were expecting an increase of 0.7%. Shares skidded 1.4%. General Motors (GM - Get Report) reported that its September U.S. sales rose 1.5%, a bit below the 1.9% increase expected by analysts. On the same day, in an appearance at the Value Investing Congress, Greenlight Capital's head honcho David Einhorn discussed the benefits of a long investment thesis on GM, which he believes could earn as much as $6 per share in 2014. GM shares finished up 2.6%. ArQule (ARQL - Get Report) shares plummeted 56.3% after the cancer therapeutics company announced that it will stop its clinical trials on a lung-cancer drug after it was deemed to be ineffective in meeting targets on improving patient survival. PetSmart (PETM), the pet products retailer, was named to join the S&P 500, replacing Sunoco (SUN), which is being acquired by Energy Transfer Partners (ETP). PetSmart shares rose 1.5%.
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