Updated from 4:07 p.m. EDTStocks in the U.S. closed to the downside Monday as record crude prices took the spotlight away from the first busy week of earnings for corporate America. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 108.28 points, or 0.77%, to 13,984.80, its third finish below the 14,000 level this month. The S&P 500 dropped 13.09 points, or 0.84%, at 1548.71, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 25.63 points, or 0.91%, to 2780.05. General Motors ( GM) was the main drag on the Dow, tumbling 3.6% for the day. Citigroup ( C), American Express ( AXP), and Verizon ( VZ) all fell by 2% or more. Several Internet names combined to sink the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Google ( GOOG), Yahoo! ( YHOO), eBay ( EBAY), and Amazon.com ( AMZN) each dropped at least 2%. One of the biggest stories of the day occurred away from stocks, as oil prices rose past $86 a barrel for the first time ever. Crude has already been hovering around its all-time high, and news of tensions between Turkey and Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq has been supporting prices in recent days. Oil jumped $2.44 to a record close of $86.13 a barrel. "With oil trading where it is, today's decline isn't all that surprising," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment officer with Oaktree Asset Management. "Combined with today's earnings, like Citigroup, people are now faced with more worries for the rest of the third-quarter reports as well as the fourth quarter."
Energy stocks such as Exxon Mobil ( XOM) and Chevron ( CVX) were stronger, while truckers and airlines slumped. The Amex Oil Index rose 1%, and the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index tacked on 0.6%. As for the worst decliners, the KBW Bank Index dropped 1.7%, the Amex Airline Index slid 1.4%, the Philadelphia Utility Index fell 1.2%, and the Dow Jones Transportation Average lost 1.1%. "There seems to be more uncertainty than optimism," said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist with Cantor Fitzgerald. "The market doesn't like uncertainty, and that may be enough to warrant taking some profits and looking for a better short-term entry point." Breadth was poor to start the week. On the New York Stock Exchange 2.64 billion shares changed hands, as decliners topped advancers by a 3-to-1 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 1.99 billion shares, with losers outpacing winners nearly 7 to 3. While the week is a hectic one for quarterly reports, the first day was on the light side, with Citi, Mattel ( MAT) and Genentech ( DNA) among the few names of note. Citi said it earned $2.38 billion, or 47 cents a share, including a pretax $729 million gain, in the latest quarter. Earnings were down 57% from a year ago, roughly in line with the forecast the financial giant gave a few weeks ago.
Citigroup is also said to be partnering with JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Bank of America ( BAC) to create a mammoth fund that would provide liquidity for the commercial paper market, which seized up over the summer. Citigroup finished down $1.63, or 3.4%, to $46.24. Toymaker Mattel also reported a drop in profits, and while revenue advanced nearly 3% year over year, it missed Wall Street's expectation. Shares lost 1%. After the close, Genentech posted a 21% rise in third-quarter profits, with adjusted earnings per share beating Wall Street's target by a penny. The earnings torrent will pick up speed Tuesday, as reports from Intel ( INTC), IBM ( IBM), Yahoo!, and Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ), among others, come due. Meanwhile, mergers and acquisitions also made headlines, with Tektronix ( TEK) agreeing to be acquired by Danaher ( DHR) in a $2.8 billion deal. Shares of Tektronix surged $9.51, or 33.6%, to $37.85, while Danaher slipped 1.2% to end the day at $81.52. Also, following the prior close, biotech name Biogen Idec ( BIIB) said it would explore selling the company if it could find a buyer. Carl Icahn has already expressed interest, the company said. Biogen soared $13.08, or 18.8%, to $82.51. Away from stocks, the lone report on the economic docket came from the New York Federal Reserve Bank, which said its Empire State manufacturing index jumped to 28.8 from 14.7, well above the consensus 13.1.
Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics, said it was hard to take the Empire State report seriously. "It is far from clear to us what has driven the gap, though we would guess it may be because a greater proportion of Empire State respondents are exporters than in manufacturing across the country as a whole, so they are benefiting disproportionately from the drop in the dollar," he said. Elsewhere, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to deliver his economic outlook when he speaks before the Economic Club of New York at 7 p.m. EDT. Treasury prices held steady. The 10-year note rose 3/32 in price, yielding 4.67%. The 30-year bond was dipped 1/32 to yield 4.90%. Among precious metals, gold crept towards a 28-year high as the dollar continued to fall. Gold futures added $8.30 to $762.20 an ounce. World stocks were mixed. Tokyo's Nikkei added 0.2%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 2.4%. London's FTSE slid 1.3%, and Frankfurt's Dax lost 0.9%.