Markets closed down today:
▼ Dow: -0.82 percent
▼ Nasdaq: -0.94 percent
▼ S&P: -0.90 percent
▲ Gold: up +0.32 percent to $1,580.12 an ounce
▲ Silver: up +0.04 percent to settle at $26.90
▲ Oil: +0.45 percent
Market closed down because:
A parade of grim news, from weak corporate earnings to a pullback at U.S. factories to spreading fault lines in Europe's debt crisis, sent investors fleeing stocks for a third straight day on Tuesday.
As if that weren't bad enough, Apple delivered a rare earnings disappointment after the closing bell, boding poorly for Wednesday's trading.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 104.14 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,617.32. It was the third triple-digit point loss in a row for the blue chip index. The last time that happened was September, when fears were rife that the U.S. was on the brink of another recession.
Lower earnings forecasts from corporate bellwethers like United Parcel Service, combined with a weak report on manufacturing, fed fears of more disappointing results from Corporate America in the coming days.
It was a fitting end to a bad day as investors around the world dumped stocks and fled to the relative safety of U.S. government debt. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to another record low and the dollar hit a two-year high against the euro.
Stocks fell from the start of trading following news that UPS had cut its earnings forecast 4 percent for all of 2012 as global trade slows. UPS's stock fell $3.61, or 5 percent, to $74.34.
Also weighing on stocks, Spain's borrowing costs spiked as investors worried that country could become the latest in Europe to ask for a financial lifeline. Spain's banks have already received help from international lenders.
The broader Standard & Poor's 500 fell 12.21 points to 1,338.31. The Nasdaq composite was off 27.16 points to 2,862.99.
Late Monday, Moody's Investors Service issued a warning about the credit rating for Germany. Moody's anticipates that strong countries like Germany will have to shoulder a heavy financial burden as they support weaker countries like Spain and Italy. The debts of those countries are considered far too big for current bailout funds to handle.
In cutting its outlook on Germany, Moody's also said there was an "increased likelihood" that Greece would leave Europe's monetary union.
As they dump stocks, investors have been piling into U.S. government bonds. On Tuesday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.40 percent, matching the record low it reached Monday.
Investors have also been selling the euro. The euro fell to $1.20 on Tuesday, a two-year low against the dollar.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.