Dow, S&P 500 Fall for Fourth Straight Session


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks finished in the red Tuesday, pulled lower by earnings worries springing from technology sector and continued apprehension about Europe's debt crisis after optimism about a rescue plan for Spain proved short-lived.

Investor sentiment also took a hit on a survey of small-business optimism that missed expectations, falling to its lowest level since October 2011.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 83 points, or 0.65%, to close at 12,653. The blue-chip index, which is still up 3.6% so far in 2012, has now lost ground in four consecutive sessions.

The S&P 500 lost nearly 11 points, or 0.81%, to settle at 1341. The benchmark index has also fallen for the past four days. It's up 6.7% year-to-date.

The Nasdaq Composite took the biggest hit on a percentage basis, falling 29 points, or 1%, to finish at 2902, marking its third straight losing session. It's advanced 11.4% in 2012.

All three major U.S. equity indices did enjoy mild bounces off their respective session lows of 12,607, 1336 and 2891 though.

Within the Dow, 20 of 30 components declined, led by Intel ( INTC), General Electric ( GE), Alcoa ( AA) and Caterpillar ( CAT).

The biggest percentage gainers among the blue chips were JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Kraft Foods ( KFT) and McDonald's ( MCD). Shares of Coca-Cola ( KO) finished flat.

Alcoa shares fell more than 4% after the aluminum giant kicked off second-quarter earnings season, beating the consensus view by a penny. Sales totaled $5.96 billion, easily topping Wall Street's average estimate of $5.81 billion. The stock had initially rallied in Monday's extended session following the report.

The 2%-plus decline in Intel came after the chip giant announced a series of deals worth a total of $4.1 billion with semiconductor manufacturing specialist ASML Holding ( ASML) late Monday. The bigger drag on the stock though was likely a disturbing warning by its closest rival, Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD), which said late Monday it now expects a sequential revenue decline of 11% in the second quarter, down from a prior forecast for growth of 3%.

AMD, which cited weakness in Europe and China as well as a slowdown in consumer PC demand for the poor guidance, saw its shares fell more than 11%. Another factor was a lower outlook from chip capital equipment maker Applied Materials ( AMAT), which saw its stock drop nearly 3%.

In the broad market, the energy, basic materials, capital goods, conglomerates and technology sectors all posted declines.

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