Stocks fell sharply for the second time in three days Tuesday after a new batch of US corporate executives raised concerns about global economic growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average finished the day down 1.8 percent, or 243.36 points, to end at 13,102.53, its worst performance since June. The losses added to the big declines on Friday and dropped leading indexes to their lowest levels since early September, before the Federal Reserve announced its latest monetary stimulus program.
Since the Standard & Poor’s 500 index hit this year’s high of 1,465.77 on Sept. 14, the benchmark index has fallen 3.6 percent. It finished Tuesday down 1.4 percent, or 20.71 points, to 1,413.11.
Share futures were falling even before the opening bell because of disappointing financial results from US companies.
The chemical maker DuPont said Tuesday that its revenue was down 9 percent in the third quarter compared with a year ago, and that it would eliminate 1,500 jobs. The company’s stock ended down 9 percent.
Thomson Reuters said Tuesday that 63 percent of the companies that have reported earnings so far have given revenue figures for the third quarter that were lower than what analysts expected.
Investors selling off stocks sought out the safety of Treasury bonds, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year bond down to 1.75 percent from 1.82 percent Monday.
“Most of the action appears related to the weak revenues we’ve seen reported by companies, especially very large companies,’’ said Tim Ghriskey, the chief investment officer at Solaris Group.
Before trading in the United States, stocks in Europe headed into negative territory. Moody’s said it was downgrading five of Spain’s regions, underscoring the continuing recessionary woes in Europe’s weakest economies. Spanish bond yields were up to 5.57 percent from 5.44 percent Monday. Those yields are still far below the elevated levels reached over the summer before the European Central Bank announced plans to buy the bonds of struggling eurozone countries.
The signs of slow economic growth in Europe and around the world are particularly weighing on energy companies and conglomerates that derive much of their revenue from international sales.
“What the corporate heads of manufacturing and global businesses are telling you is that things are slowing down,’’ said Bernie McGinn, the founder of McGinn Investment Management.
Adding to the gloom was a growing sense among investors that Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, will step down when his term ends in early 2014, regardless of who wins the presidential election. There is some concern among investors that without Bernanke the Fed would not continue with its big bond-buying programs.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index, which led losses last week, fell less sharply than other major indexes Tuesday, closing down 0.9 percent, or 26.49 points, to finish at 2,990.46.