NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks saw widespread selling Tuesday, driven lower by disappointing earnings reports and signs of disagreement between eurozone leaders over the details of a crucial debt plan for the region. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 207 points, or 1.7%, at 11,707. In the previous three sessions, the index climbed more than 400 points, in large part because of expectations that European officials will be able to deliver a comprehensive agreement ahead of a key summit on Wednesday. The S&P 500 plunged 25 points, 2%, at 1229,l while the Nasdaq, which had managed to push into positive territory for the year on Monday, saw the deepest losses, falling 61 points, or 2.3%, at 2638.
Reports that European Union finance ministers canceled a Wednesday meeting that was scheduled to take place ahead of the summit renewed fears that lawmakers may not reach an agreement for a debt plan by tomorrow. Europe continues to work out how to expand it rescue fund as well as the level of write-downs on Greek debt by the banks. Adding to Tuesday's negative sentiment was news that U.S. consumer confidence sunk to its worst level in more than two years last month. The Conference Board's index improved in September but reverted from 45.4 to a reading of 39.8. The market anticipated an uptick in the index to 46. "The question remains whether or not this pessimistic mood, coupled with increasing concerns about a potential recession on the horizon, will be enough to dampen spending habits," said Jim Baird, chief investment strategist for Plante Moran Financial Advisors. "Consumers have demonstrated some resilience of late, as evidenced by the better-than-expected retail sales in September and likely positive consumer contributions to third-quarter growth," Baird continued. "There is a rising risk that the continued slippage in confidence coupled with an otherwise deteriorating outlook could prompt consumers to further trim their spending and ultimately push the economy to a tipping point." Uncertainty ahead of Wednesday's summit in Europe helped spur a flight to safe havens like gold. December futures for the yellow bullion gained $55.10 to $1,707.40 an ounce. Also in commodities, the December crude oil contract added $1.85 to $93.12 a barrel. The dollar index, a measure of the dollar's value against a basket of currencies, rose 0.13%, while the euro reversed course, losing 0.2% against the greenback. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 1 2/32, diluting the yield to 2.12%. London's FTSE lost 0.4% and Germany's DAX dipped 0.01%. Overnight, Asian markets saw a mixed close. Japan's Nikkei Average slipped 0.9%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.1%. Earnings reports failed to provide a boost to the broader market. Diversified technology company 3M ( MMM) sunk to the bottom of the Dow after it reported third-quarter profit of $1.52 a share. Analysts expected earnings of $1.61 a share. The company also revised down its full year earnings expectation. Shares tumbled 6.3% to $77.04. Fellow Dow component DuPont ( DD), however, soared past analysts' profit projections of 56 cents a share with adjusted earnings of 69 cents a share and lifted the bottom range of earnings expectations for 2011. Shares slipped 2.5% to $44.94. Shares of Netflix ( NFLX) plunged 34.9% to $77.37 after the company issued a disappointing outlook for the current quarter late Monday. Netflix's subscription numbers disappointed analysts and its fourth-quarter earnings forecast of 36 to 70 cents a share was well below a consensus view for earnings of $1.08 a share. Shares of UPS ( UPS) topped expectations by a penny with third-quarter earnings of $1.06 a share and reported in-line revenue of $13.2 billion but noted slowing exports in Asia. The stock lost 2.1%. BP's ( BP)stock jumped 4% to $43.52 after the oil company said its profits rose to $4.9 billion in the third quarter from $1.8 billion a year ago. UBS ( UBS) reported a 39% drop in profits, largely due to losses from one rogue trader. Profits still beat expectations of 1.02 billion Swiss francs ($1.16 billion) and UBS stock edged lower 0.2%. In other U.S. economic news, home prices edged up for the fifth straight month in August, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index. The index fell year over year slightly lighter than economists expected. A separate read on house prices from the Federal Housing Finance Agency said that prices dipped 0.1% in August. -- Written by Chao Deng and Melinda Peer in New York.