Stocks fell on Tuesday, hurt by disappointing results from Dow Chemical Co and Procter & Gamble, while June factory orders and pending home sales dropped off more than expected.
Shares of P&G (PG.N) and Dow (DOW.N) both tumbled after the companies reported profits that missed Wall Street's estimates. P&G was the biggest drag on the Dow index, falling 3.9 percent to $59.64, while Dow shed 8.6 percent to $25.88.
Economic data added to the negative tone as factory orders fell steeply in June and pending home sales dropped to a record low. Earlier data showed consumer spending and incomes were unexpectedly flat in June and personal savings rose to the highest level in a year.
Analysts said the market was also ripe for consolidation after Monday's 2 percent gain that built on a nearly 7 percent jump for July, the best month in a year for the S&P 500.
"It's a little disappointing. We get good news, bad news, good news, bad news," said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at John Thomas Financial in New York.
"But we did make a new high yesterday and took out resistance, so the uptrend is very much alive."
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) slipped 62.59 points, or 0.59 percent, to 10,611.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) fell 7.61 points, or 0.68 percent, to 1,118.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) gave up 19.68 points, or 0.86 percent, at 2,275.68.
The S&P 500 was holding above its 200-day moving average of around 1,114, a potentially positive signal. But it was struggling to maintain its grip on the 1,121 mark, the midpoint between the historic high reached in October 2007 and the 12-year low hit in March 2009.
Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) was a bright spot in the morning's round of earning reports, posting higher-than-expected income and revenue and saying its full-year profit will be at the upper end of its previous forecast. The drugmaker's shares jumped 4.6 percent to $16.18.