Stocks Opened Sharply Lower

U.S. stocks fell sharply Tuesday as earnings from corporations included conglomerate 3M Co. weighed and reports that Europe’s debt-crisis meeting had been cancelled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 133.43 points to 11,780.19. The S&P 500 Index declined 19.68 points to 1,234.51. The Nasdaq Composite shed 38.95 points to 2,660.49.

Manufacturing conglomerate 3M Co. on Tuesday lowered its earnings expectations for the year on slowing imports from overseas. The Maplewood, Minn., maker of Post-its and Scotch Tape now expects to earn $5.85 to $5.95 per share compared with $6.10 to $6.25 per share previously. Core sales are expected to grow by 3 to 4 percent, compared with a previous forecast of 6 to 7.5 percent growth.

A measure of consumers’ confidence in the economy is expected to have remained gloomy in October, showing only a slight rise from September. The economists expect the Conference Board’s index to edge up to 47.0 for October from 45.4 for September. A reading of above 90 indicates the economy is on solid footing. The report is to be released at 10 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday.

Netflix shares fell more than 30% in premarket trading after it jolted its shareholders again with a third-quarter financial report that portrayed a company in crisis. The company earned $62.5 million, or $1.16, per share, in the third quarter. That compared to income of $38 million, or 70 cents per share, at the same time last year.

Home prices rose in August in half of major cities measured by a private survey, a sign that prices are stabilizing in some hard-hit portions of the country. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index showed Tuesday that prices increased in August from July in 10 of the 20 cities tracked. That marked the fifth straight month that at least half of the cities in the survey showed gains.

United Parcel Service reported a higher quarterly profit. UPS has forecast record earnings per share of $4.15 to $4.40 this year on the back of cost cuts and higher shipping rates in the face of a slowly expanding global economy. Domestic shipping volume averaged 12.74 million packages a day, little changed from 12.73 million a year ago.

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