U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as talk of a second government stimulus plan stirred fears that the economy is nowhere near recovery, raising the specter of an anemic second-quarter earnings season.
A member of the Obama administration's economic advisory panel said the United States should plan to possibly provide a second round of stimulus funds to prop up the economy, implying that recovery is still far off.
Energy stocks took a hit from the negative market sentiment, as did economically sensitive sectors like basic materials and industrials. Health care, a classic defensive sector, was the only S&P 500 sector to avoid losses, rising 0.5 percent <.GSPA>. Consumer staples <.GSPS>, another defensive sector, had the smallest loss at 0.2 percent.
We're seeing a portfolio rotation into defensive categories because of nervousness relating to economic growth and the second-quarter earnings season, said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors in New York.
The quarterly earnings season gets under way this week, with Alcoa Inc
The loss of confidence in the economic recovery has sent oil prices tumbling in the last week. New York crude fell almost 2 percent and is down more than 14 percent from the intraday peak hit on June 30. Its slide has pressured energy stocks.
Oil services company Schlumberger Ltd
The S&P energy sector <.GSPE> index lost 1.9 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 90.69 points, or 1.09 percent, to 8,234.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> slid 9.75 points, or 1.08 percent, to 888.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 23.06 points, or 1.29 percent, to 1,764.34
On the upside, shares of chip maker Intel Corp
The PHLX semiconductor index <.SOXX>, however, shed 1.2 percent.
Investor concerns over mounting debt were underscored by a report showing a record number of cash-strapped consumers falling behind on credit card bills in the first quarter.
Shares of credit card company American Express Co
A rally in the broad S&P 500 index that had boosted it about 40 percent from 12-year lows hit in early March has wilted in the last month as investors sought stronger evidence that economic conditions were improving.
(Editing by Leslie Adler)