Tech profits crumple; stocks take nosedive

NEW YORK – Stocks fell for the fourth consecutive day Tuesday after a profit slump at technology companies and a steep decline in oil prices, which sent energy stocks sharply lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 83.17 points to close at 12,653.12. Aluminum-maker Alcoa was the biggest loser in the Dow, giving up 4 percent after reporting a slump in revenue late Monday.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 10.99 points to 1,341.47. The index is in its longest slump since May 18.

Two stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was lighter than average at 3.4 billion shares.

Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices fell sharply after reporting that a slowdown in China and Europe led to an 11 percent drop in second-quarter revenue. The company had previously forecast a gain of 3 percent.

That news sent other technology stocks down hard. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 1 percent, the most of the three major indexes. It closed 29.44 points lower at 2,902.33.

The bad news outweighed hopeful developments in Europe earlier in the day.

Before U.S. markets opened, European finance ministers announced they had agreed on the terms of a bailout for Spain’s banks. The first installment of $37 billion in aid can be ready by the end of the month.

Investors were concerned that some details seemed to be missing from the plan.

Also weighing on the market: worries about a slew of upcoming corporate earnings reports. Financial analysts expect that earnings at companies in the S&P 500 fell 2 percent in the April-through-June period compared with a year ago, according to S&P Capital IQ. That would be the first drop in nearly three years.

“The past quarter was great, but going forward many companies may have problems,” said Joe Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade, a brokerage. “People are confused about what to think.”