By Peter McKay
A slide in the last hour of trading left the stock market with its second big loss of the week. Disappointing earnings dragged down a broad range of consumer-oriented stocks, and energy stocks sank amid continuing uncertainty over deepwater drilling.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) fell 145.64 points, or 1.4%, to 10,152.80, in a move that echoed Tuesday's 149-point drop. Pfizer Inc. (PFE) was the measure's worst performer, down 2.8% after saying it would suspend osteoarthritis trials of its pain drug tanezumab.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) posted a fourth straight decline, its longest losing streak in seven weeks. The broad index ended down 1.7%, led by declines of more than 2% each in its consumer-discretionary, financial, energy and basic-materials sectors.
The Nasdaq Composite Index (RIXF) declined 1.6% to 2,217.42. The Russell 2000 tumbled 1.7% to 1,073.69.
"There's a risk-aversion trade coming into the market again, given all the risk factors that are out there," said Anthony Conroy, head trader at the brokerage BNY ConvergEx. "It's nerve-wracking. People are just in a capital-preservation mode."
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) dropped 2.2% and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) fell 2.6% as 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.
Offshore drilling stocks slipped after the U.S. federal judge who earlier this week overturned a six-month ban on deepwater drilling activity denied a motion filed by the Obama administration to allow the ban to stay in place during the appeal process.
The judge on Thursday also denied a motion by plaintiffs to enforce his own injunction. This means the government can file an emergency motion with the appeals court asking it to keep in place the drilling moratorium until the legal fight over the injunction is resolved.
Amid the uncertainty, Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO) tumbled 4.4%, while oil and gas explorer Denbury Resources (DNR) fell 3.1%. Meanwhile Anadarko Petroleum (APC) fell 5.2% after shareholders filed the first oil spill lawsuit against the oil giant, alleging Anadarko made a series of false and misleading statements in relation with its participation in the broken well.
In the consumer-discretionary sector, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) dropped 5.6% after its current-quarter earnings outlook fell below analysts' estimates. Nike (NKE) declined 4% after the athletic-shoe and apparel maker's revenue growth missed analysts' expectations.
Other retailers also dropped. J.C. Penney (JCP) fell 5.8%, Macy's (M) slipped 6.2% and Nordstrom (JWN) slid 4%.
Media companies also tumbled. News Corp. (NWSA)(NWS), publisher of The Wall Street Journal, fell 4.9%, Gannett (GCI) slid 5.9% and New York Times (NYT) fell 4.6%.
U.S. economic data were mixed. In a bigger-than-expected drop, weekly jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 457,000. But investors said that decline isn't enough to change the labor market's momentum.
"We're just bouncing around in a range with that number," said Mike O'Rourke, chief market strategist at BTIG, an institutional broker. "That's not enough to create the amount of jobs we need to get the unemployment rate down. We need them to get down to the 400,000 or below level."
Separately, there was a smaller-than-expected drop in durable-goods orders and manufacturing activity in the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's district slowed in June.
The euro strengthened to $1.2338 recently. The dollar weakened against both the euro and the yen. Treasurys were mixed, with the two-year note (UST2YR) flat and the 10-year note (UST10Y) down to push yield up to 3.13%. Crude-oil futures edged down, while gold futures advanced.