U.S. stocks edged lower on Thursday as concerns grew about the deteriorating financial health of Greece and big telecommunications equipment companies reported weak results.
The cost of insuring Greek debt hit a record high after the European Union said Greece had larger budget deficits last year than anticipated. Moody's downgraded Greece's sovereign ratings, fanning investors' fears that European national debt problems could derail the economic recovery.
Shares of the world's top cellphone maker Nokia tumbled more than 12 percent to $13.08 after the company cut its profit outlook and delayed the launch of models to compete with the iPhone and Blackberry.
Today is a classic case of using plenty of excuses out there to sell. The reality is that the market stretched out and it's more than overdue for a pause or a short-term set back, said Scott Marcouiller, senior equity strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 27.36 points, or 0.25 percent, at 11,097.56. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 2.95 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,202.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 2.23 points, or 0.09 percent, at 2,502.38.
Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc gave a weak forecast for the current quarter and full year late on Wednesday, citing weak cellphone chip prices. Its stock fell 7.8 percent to $39.29.
Dow component Verizon Communications Inc shares dipped 0.8 percent to $29.33 after its earnings fell short of Wall Street expectations. [ID:nN22217198]. Telecommunications rival AT&T fell 0.5 percent to $26.22.
Shares of eBay Inc also weighed on the Nasdaq, down 7.2 percent at $24.40 after the Internet auctioneer reported results after the bell on Wednesday.
U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking in New York, scolded Wall Street for risk-taking that led to the financial crisis and urged the banking industry to stop its furious efforts to block tighter regulations.
Goldman Sachs shares fell 1 percent at $157.48 and JPMorgan Chase dipped 1.6 percent to $44.62.
An index of home builder shares <.DJUSHB> rose 3.7 percent after data showed a bigger than expected increase in sales of used homes.
Healthcare stocks tumbled for a second day on their exposure to changes related to healthcare reform. The S&P healthcare index <.GSPA> was down 1.4 percent.
Dow component Merck fell 2.2 percent $33.99, the largest decliner on the Dow. Shares of Baxter International Inc tumbled 14.2 percent to $50.60 after the medical products maker lowered its full-year outlook.
(Reporting by Angela Moon, Editing by Kenneth Barry)