Dow slides almost 400 points as Caterpillar and Nvidia reinforce slowdown fears

Caterpillar Profit Misses as Trade Strains Start to BiteMore

The S&P 500 posted seven new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 29 new highs and 29 new lows. That could explain some of the shortfall between Caterpillar's forecast for $11.75 to $12.75 in earnings per share this year and analysts' expectations for about $12.72. The yuan appreciated to its strongest against the dollar since July before Vice Premier Liu He travels to Washington for trade talks, and as the People's Bank of China freed up a potential US$37 billion for bank lending.

China's cooling economy had already begun to reveal itself across a broad array of US economic sectors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 210 points, with all but six of its 30 members in the red.

Caterpillar fell well short of fourth-quarter profit expectations and the machine maker said that sales have begun to slow in China.

Organic sales rose in all geographic regions at the end of 2018, excluding the effect of a strong US dollar, 3M said in a statement Tuesday as it reported earnings. The company notched $386 million in expenses tied to firing employees and closing down factories in 2018, down from $1.26 billion the year before and about $1 billion in 2016.

Disappointing results from construction machinery giant Caterpillar and a pessimistic revenue forecast from chipmaker Nvidia point to a broader impact to the global business community from China's economic slowdown, analysts said on Tuesday.

"When you see the big cyclical companies missing earnings or missing forecasts, it worries the market because it confirms what they've already been hearing from the macro side", Dave Lafferty, chief market strategist at Natixis Investment Managers, said in an interview at Bloomberg's NY headquarters. Emerging-market stocks slipped while their currencies climbed.

In December, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to halt any further tariff increases on each other's products during a 90-day period in which both countries would continue to negotiate a trade deal. S&P 500 e-minis were down 16.25 points, or 0.61 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 45 points, or 0.66 percent.

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Volatility has picked up as investors fret about an economic cycle that is long in the tooth, leading to sharp reactions in the market to news, said Laura Kane, head of investment themes for the Americas at UBS Wealth Management.

Equity markets have solid underpinnings with fourth-quarter earnings looking good, a likely truce in the U.S.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil fell 3 per cent to $52.07 per barrel in NY. It hit a near two-week low at 95.673 earlier in the session.

Vale shares dropped 24.5 percent in Sao Paulo trade. The Japanese yen gained 0.1 per cent to 109.41 per dollar.

The world's second-largest economy, which contributes about one-third of global growth, has been weakening for years after averaging more than 10 percent growth for three decades through 2010.

Chief Financial Officer Andrew Bonfield told Reuters that profits this year will be weighed down by a higher United States tax rate.

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