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U.S. Stocks Drop As Earnings Weigh On Sentiment

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks slumped Tuesday in the face of a slew of financial reports, including technology bellwether Texas Instruments Inc., whose results came in below expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 70.68 points to 12,754.34, with 21 of its 30 components in negative territory, with the declines led by DuPont Co. , off 3.7% after the chemicals company forecast weakness in the U.S. construction and automotive markets to dent growth.

Two other Dow components -- McDonald's Corp. and AT&T Inc. reported results before Tuesday's bell.

McDonald's said first-quarter profit climbed 24%, but same-store sales in March were "slightly negative."

Shares of the fast-food chain declined 0.4%. .

The S&P 500 declined 7.29 points to 1,380.88, with information technology and materials both down 1.5%, and consumer discretionary off 1.1%.

The energy sector's fall was limited, recently off 0.2%, as crude-oil futures added 52 cents to $118 a barrel, after earlier hitting a new high of $118.47. .

The surge in fuel costs had UAL Corp. reporting widening losses for the first quarter, with the Chicago-based parent of United Airlines joining JetBlue Airways Corp. in pointing to escalating energy costs for wiping out profit. .

The technology-laden Nasdaq Composite shed 15.96 points to 2,392.08.94, with shares of Texas Instruments among those weighing, its stock down 5.7%, retreating after the chipmaker offered a second-quarter outlook lagging expectations late Monday.

Yahoo Inc. gained 0.9% ahead of its earnings report after the close.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange hit 1.3 billion shares, with declining stocks outpacing those on the rise by a more than 2-to-1 count. On the Nasdaq, 610 million shares exchanged hands, with decliners also running ahead of advancing stocks, also more than 2 to 1.

The National Association of Realtors reported the U.S. housing market weakened slightly in March, with the trade group's chief economist calling existing-home sales "stable yet soft." .

Wall Street ended narrowly mixed on Monday, with the Dow industrials losing 24 points and the S&P 500 down 2 points as oil prices hit new record highs and Bank of America reported a 77% profit decline. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 5 points.

By Kate Gibson

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