Stocks Plunge 2% on Fed

U.S. stocks closed near session lows on Thursday, off about 2 percent, as investors weighed continued uncertainty about the timing of a rate hike. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 358.04 points, or 2.06%, to 16,990.69. The S&P 500 lost 43.88 points, or 2.11%, to 2,035.73. The Nasdaq Composite fell 141.56 points, or 2.82%, to 4,877.49.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) posted quarterly earnings that topped analysts’ expectations on Thursday, but sluggish sales as its legacy business continued to drag. HP posted adjusted earnings of 88 cents per share on $25.3 billion in revenue. Sales fell 8 percent from the year before.

Apparel retailer Gap Inc (GPS) reported a fall in quarterly profit for the second consecutive quarter, hurt by a stronger dollar, shipment delays and weak sales at its flagship brand. The company said net income fell by more than a third to $219 million, or 52 cents per share in the second quarter ended Aug. 1, from $332 million, or 75 cents per share, a year earlier. Inc. (CRM) eked out an earnings beat Thursday and raised its revenue forecast for the year. It reported a loss of $852,000, less than a penny a share, on sales of $1.63 billion; after adjustments for stock-based compensation and other factors, Salesforce said profit was 19 cents a share.

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