Stocks Are Getting Crushed

Stocks are still taking it on the chin, though losses have eased a bit in early afternoon trading.

Near 1:00 pm ET, the Dow was down 277 points, the S&P 500 was down 22 points, and the Nasdaq was down 72 points.

Earlier, the Dow and Nasdaq had been down more than 2%.

The big news weighing on the Dow is from Caterpillar and Microsoft.

Caterpillar on Tuesday morning gave a really downbeat outlook for the global economy in 2015 as its earnings missed expectations and the company gave a revenue outlook for 2015 that was about 10% below Wall Street expectations.

In early trade on Tuesday, shares of Caterpillar were down as much as 7%.

Microsoft shares were also weighing on the Dow, falling more than 9% shortly after the bell after the tech giant last night gave a gloomy outlook for 2015, cutting estimates to “reflect a significantly more challenging transition ahead.”

Economic data on Tuesday was also disappointing, with December’s durable goods orders report showing that orders fell 3.4% against expectations for an increase od 0.3%. November’s report was also revised lower.

The Case-Shiller report on home prices showed prices rising, but at a slower pace than a year ago, and in the Case-Shiller release, David Blitzer said, “Prospects for a home run in 2015 aren’t good.”

Consumer confidence data, however, came in at its highest level since August 2007 and new home sales came rose 11.6% in December to an annualized pace of 481,000.

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