Dow ends down 291 on earnings misses

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By Adam Shell

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 291 points Tuesday as earnings from a batch of big-name companies pulled stocks sharply down.

Earlier, the blue-chip index had skidded as much as 390 points as big-machinery maker Caterpillar (CAT)and consumer products giant Procter & Gamble (PG) slashed their sales and profit forecasts for 2015, moves that signaled to Wall Street that the weak global economy and strong dollar could dent U.S. growth and profits this year.

The No. 1 reason for the Dow’s weakness Tuesday was a spate of earnings misses from key companies in a variety of key sectors, says Alex Eppstein, an analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research.

“A number of companies reported lackluster earnings and guidance this morning — including Dow stocks such as Caterpillar, Procter & Gamble and Pfizer creating headwinds,” Eppstein told clients. The Dow ended the day 1.7% lower.

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