Stocks extended losses on Tuesday and the S&P 500 index <.SPX> broke a key technical resistance as it fell below 1,040.78, its previous low point for 2010.

The S&P 500 index held that level twice this year, and many market participants saw it as a near-term bottom.

The benchmark hit a near 8-month intraday low and is also on track to set a new 2010 closing low, below 1,050.47.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 276.98 points, or 2.74 percent, to 9,861.54. The S&P 500 fell 36.05 points, or 3.35 percent, to 1,038.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> slid 90.47 points, or 4.07 percent, to 2,130.18.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Jan Paschal)