Wall Street drops for third day, dollar cuts losses
By Michael Connor
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street stocks dropped for a third day on Thursday, sagging under weak corporate profit reports that left the Dow Jones industrials index in the red for 2015, while strong U.S. labor market data supported a weak dollar.
Oil prices declined, with U.S. crude dropping below $49 per barrel for the first time in more than three months, as gold got a lift from the softer dollar and briefly traded above $1,100 an ounce.
Wall Street's Dow Jones industrial average .DJI ended off 119.09 points, or 0.67 percent, at 17,731.95, putting it in the red for the year.
The S&P 500 .SPX was down 12 points, or 0.57 percent, to 2,102.15 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC lost 25.36 points, or 0.49 percent, to 5,146.41.
Earnings worries drove activity. Caterpillar shares fell 3.6 percent to $76.88 and touched a four-year low. The world's largest construction and mining equipment maker reported sales declines in key markets in a sluggish global economy.
American Express fell 2.5 percent to $77.01 after its revenue missed expectations, while diversified manufacturer 3M was down 3.8 percent at $149.50 after cutting its full-year forecast.
"The initial take on big earnings reports has been lukewarm at best," said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Bolton Global Asset Management in Boston. "The strong dollar certainly has been mentioned a lot, and I think there are still questions about demand in the economy."
European equities were also stung by disappointing updates from companies, including Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN.L: Quote) and British energy supplier SSE SSE.L. European stocks fell .FTEU3 0.5 percent. Continued...