By Donna Kardos Yesalavich
U.S. stocks slipped Thursday as disappointing earnings and uncertainty over the final shape of the financial-overhaul bill weighed on the market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was down 87 points, or 0.9%, to 10,211, in recent trading.
Financials led the blue-chip measure's decline, as J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) dropped 2.7% and Bank of America (BAC) fell 2.1%.
In Washington, House and Senate lawmakers sought to reach agreement on the final pieces of legislation that is expected to tighten oversight of the financial industry more than many had expected.
The lawmakers agreed on new capital requirements that will give large banks five years to stop treating trust-preferred securities as Tier 1 capital, a key measure of a bank's strength. However, Senate negotiators planned to reject a House provision that could force big banks to pay for winding down mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Investors compared the bill's tortured journey through Congress to the record-long Wimbledon tennis match that concluded on Thursday.
"It's long and drawn-out and everybody's going to be exhausted when it's over, but at least you'll know who the winners and losers will be," said Jordan Smyth, managing director at Edgemoor Investment Advisors.
Within the Dow, shares of Home Depot (HD) also traded weak, slipping 2.3%, as did Pfizer (PFE), down 2.4% after the drug maker said it would suspend osteoarthritis trials of its pain drug tanezumab.
The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) declined 1.1% to 2,230. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index (SPX) slipped 1.1% to 1,080.
In the consumer-discretionary sector, Nike (NKE) declined 3.9%. Late Wednesday, the athletic-shoe and apparel maker's revenue growth missed analysts' expectations.
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) dropped 3.8% after its current-quarter earnings outlook fell below analysts' estimates.
Darden Restaurants (DRI), owner of the Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains, fell 5.3% after reporting earnings fell 6% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010.
The results helped pull other consumer-discretionary stocks lower, especially retailers: J.C. Penney (JCP) dropped 5.7%, Macy's (M) skidded 5% and Nordstrom (JWN) sank 3.5%.
U.S. economic data were mixed. Weekly jobless claims fell more than expected, and there was a smaller-than-expected drop in durable-goods orders.
However, manufacturing activity in the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's district slowed in June. Producers grew more cautious about the future and employment turned negative again, according to the report.
The manufacturing data added to investors' worries a day after the Federal Reserve's policy-making body kept its key interest rate near zero, as expected, but cast its policy statement with more downbeat language.
The euro strengthened to $1.2376 recently, reversing earlier declines. The U.S. Dollar Index (DXY), which measures the greenback against a basket of six others, fell 0.3%.
Treasurys rose, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down to 3.10%, while crude-oil futures edged down but gold futures advanced.
Among other stocks in focus, Lennar (LEN) dropped 0.6%. The home builder swung to a fiscal second-quarter profit, beating analysts' estimates.
Hasbro (HAS) shares rose 3.6% after confirming it had been approached by a private-equity firm about a buyout, but the toy maker's board determined it wasn't interested in pursuing the transaction. Private-equity firm Providence Equity Partners had approached the toymaker to take the company private in a leveraged buyout, people familiar with the matter said.