Stocks spiral on disappointing earnings, commodity retreat

Stocks fell Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average toward its biggest loss since June, amid disappointing results at companies from 3M to DuPont and as commodities erased their gain for the year.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 243.28 points, or 1.82%, at 13,102.61; the S&P 500 fell 20.70 points, or 1.44%, ending at 1,413.12; and the Nasdaq composite closed down 26.5 points, or 0.88%, at 2,990.46. All numbers are preliminary.

3M, which cut its profit target because of slow demand, dropped 3.4%. DuPont fell 8.6% after it announced it would eliminate about 1,500 jobs after posting a smaller third-quarter profit than expected.

Xerox sank 5.4% after saying its third-quarter profit fell 12%. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold slid more than 3.4% as commodities retreated amid concern about a global slowdown.

Thirty-three companies in the S&P 500 released results Tuesday. Third-quarter sales missed forecasts at 60% of companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Earnings at about 70% of the index’s companies beat analysts’ estimates, the data showed.

Apple Inc. slid 1.7%, after surging 4% Monday. CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday introduced a smaller version of the iPad designed to keep customers from buying low-cost tablets from competitors Microsoft, Amazon.com and Google.