US stocks sank Tuesday on indications of a still-weak economy and worries that European leaders might not reach a deal on resolving the eurozone debt crisis on the eve of a key summit.
"Yesterday's confidence stemming from economic optimism, hopes of a debt deal coming out of tomorrow’s EU summit, and positive earnings reports out of the US took a 180-degree turn in today’s session," Charles Schwab analysts said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which closed Monday at an early August peak, tumbled 207.00 points (1.74 percent) to finish at 11,706.62.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gave up 61.02 points (2.26 percent) to 2,638.42.
The broader S&P 500 fell 25.14 points (2.00 percent) to 1,229.05, snapping a three-session winning streak.
Stocks on both sides of the Atlantic were lower as investors cautiously awaited Wednesday's European Union summit aimed at delivering a solid solution to the eurozone debt crisis and its undercapitalized banks.
Wells Fargo Advisors analyst Scott Marcouiller cited disappointing earnings and economic data for the selling, as well as "concerns Europe's leaders may struggle to come up with a resolution to the region's debt crisis."
The bearish Wall Street outlook was further boosted by unexpectedly poor data on the path of US consumer confidence.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index stood at 39.8 in October, down sharply from 46.4 in September.
"Consumer confidence is now back to levels last seen during the 2008-2009 recession, said Lynn Franco of the Conference Board.
Disappointing earnings guidance hit some key stocks. 3M dropped 6.3 percent to $77.04 after reporting a 1.6 percent fall in third-quarter earnings from a year earlier, due to a contracting operating margin.
Chief executive George Buckley said "The business environment remains challenging," cutting the company's forecast for the full year.
Netflix plunged 34.9 percent to $77.37. The video services company announced late Monday it had lost 810,000 US subscribers in the third quarter, following controversial pricing changes.
Texas Instruments shed 2.3 percent to $30.97 after its glum forecast for the coming quarter.
Bond prices surged. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.13 percent from 2.23 percent Monday, while that on the 30-year Treasury dropped to 3.14 percent from 3.28 percent.
Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.