Stocks fell on Tuesday as investors fretted about a possible credit downgrade amid concerns that economic growth could remain subdued.
The S&P 500 fell for the seventh straight session, adding to losses after equities suffered their worst week in a year last week. Stocks have been pressured by uncertainty related to the U.S. debt ceiling negotiations.
The U.S. House of Representatives late Monday passed a last-minute compromise to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and avert a U.S. debt default. The Senate was to vote on the deal at noon EDT.
Still, many investors feared the measure doesn't go far enough to satisfy rating agencies, which have threatened a U.S. government credit downgrade that could increase Treasury rates and raise borrowing costs.
"There's been no clear direction, given about how these issues will ultimately be resolved, which is another reason the market is concerned," said Kenneth Buckfire, chief executive officer at Miller Buckfire in New York. "The growth prospects of the U.S. are limited."
In the latest economic data, U.S. consumer spending fell unexpectedly in June to post the first decline in nearly two years as incomes barely rose, the government reported.
A weak reading on manufacturing on Monday underscored growing concerns about the economy's strength.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 40.79 points, or 0.34 percent, at 12,091.70. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 5.65 points, or 0.44 percent, at 1,281.29. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 0.94 points, or 0.03 percent, at 2,743.67.
European debt problems returned to the forefront after French bank BNP Paribas SA took a $768.3 million writedown linked to Greece's debt woes. Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares fell 1.2 percent.
The Nasdaq was helped by Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., which surged 5 percent to $74.29 after the provider of information technology services forecast a strong third quarter. Pfizer Inc. reported a second-quarter profit that beat expectations by a penny and affirmed its full-year earnings view. Shares of the Dow component fell 2.2 percent to $18.58.
Agricultural processor Archer Daniels Midland Co. slumped 4.3 percent to $29.20 after its quarterly earnings came in well below expectations.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. edged 0.4 percent lower to $52.39 after Jefferies downgraded the Dow component to "hold" from "buy" and said it saw a decline in same-store sales in the second quarter.