By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK - The S&P 500 fell for the fourth time in five sessions on Tuesday, weighed down by a drop in Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson following their quarterly results, while geopolitical tensions added to investor caution.
Goldman Sachs lost 4.7 percent to $215.59, after hitting its lowest intraday level since Nov. 29. The bank posted earnings that missed expectations as trading revenue dropped.
Goldman shares suffered their biggest daily percentage drop since June 24, a day after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
Johnson & Johnson <JNJ.N> slumped 3.1 percent for its worst day in 14 months after quarterly revenue fell short of analysts' expectations.
"The Goldman numbers today were disappointing to the market, in what hasn’t been a bad group of numbers for most of the banks," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"There was some optimism for greater top-line growth and we have seen in the early numbers that have come out that companies have certainly learned how to cost cut and manage the bottom line but they really are having trouble growing the top line."
Healthcare <.SPXHC>, down 1 percent, and financials, off 0.8 percent, were the two worst-performing of the 11 major S&P sectors.
Cardinal Health <CAH.N>, down 11.5 percent, also weighed on healthcare after a disappointing profit forecast overshadowed a deal to buy medical supplies businesses from Medtronic <MDT.N> for $6.1 billion.
Although Bank of America <BAC.N> reported a better-than-expected profit, its shares reversed course to close slightly lower, falling in line with the broader market.
A rough start to the earnings season could add to investor concerns about market valuations after a strong post-election rally largely based on expectations of pro-growth policies from President Donald Trump's administration drove major indexes to record highs.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> fell 113.64 points, or 0.55 percent, to 20,523.28, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 6.83 points, or 0.29 percent, to 2,342.18 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 7.32 points, or 0.12 percent, to 5,849.47.
Safe-havens continued to be in favor, with gold and U.S. Treasury prices climbing ahead of crucial presidential elections in France, rising tensions between the United States and North Korea and the calling of early elections in Britain.
Despite the high-profile earnings misses, first-quarter results have been promising overall. According to Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday morning, of the 45 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results, 76 percent have topped expectations.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.11-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.27-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 40 new highs and 59 new lows.
About 6.07 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with the 6.41 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Nick Zieminski)