Stocks are skidding Tuesday as weak results from retailers and mounting losses for big technology companies push the market back into the red for the year.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.05 percent from 3.07 percent.
The S&P 500 index gained 20 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 2,663 as of 10 a.m.
The Nasdaq lost 119 points, or 1.7 percent, to 6,908.
The S&P 500 index rose 25 points, or 1 percent, to 2,667.
All three major US indexes were down slightly for the year after trading, with the Dow about 2,400 points below its peak.
The Nikkei Average tumbled 296 points, or 1.3 percent, at the start of trading to 21,286. Nokia and Ericsson, two top suppliers of telecom networks, each fell about 3 percent.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.77-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.91-to-1 ratio favored advancers.The S&P 500 posted six new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 14 new highs and 84 new lows.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped less than 1 point to 24,464.
Gap Inc rose 5.3 percent after several Wall Street brokerages took positively to Chief Executive Arthur Peck's more aggressive plan to close underperforming stores, which is expected to eliminate significant losses.
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Investors lately have been quick to bail out of companies that show rising costs are eating into profits, and that was the case with retailers Tuesday.
Nissan said its chairman, Carlos Ghosn, was arrested Monday and will be dismissed from the company after allegedly under-reporting his income.
All eyes were on Apple, whose shares were down 3 percent to trade at $180.07, adding to previous losses amid reports of weakened iPhone demand.
Benchmark U.S. crude reversed an early loss and rose 0.5% to $56.76 a barrel in NY.
Industrial companies and retailers also stumbled. Netflix lost 5.6 percent to $270.21.
Gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,225.30 an ounce.
USA crude rose 2.7 percent to $54.87 per barrel.
On the other hand, the so-called defensive sectors, real estate and utilities, are staying in the negative territory to reflect the strong appetite for risk ahead of Thanksgiving holiday. Apple inched up 0.2 per cent to $177.32. It fell 6.6 per cent on Tuesday and finished at its lowest price in a year.
CURRENCIES: The dollar eased to 112.98 yen from 113.07 yen late Wednesday. The pound rose to $1.2855 from $1.2831. The euro declined to $1.1452 from $1.1454.
France's CAC 40 gave up 0.8 percent and Germany's DAX slid 0.9 percent. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.4 percent. The benchmark index is 9.9 percent below its September peak.