New York: US stocks were down in morning trading on Tuesday, pressured by a second straight day of weak data out of Germany, the euro zone's largest economy, but indices bounced off of session lows.
German industrial output for August slid 4 per cent, the biggest fall in 5-1/2 years, a day after a report showed industrial orders had their biggest monthly drop since 2009.
A vacuum of market catalysts will only be filled when earnings start in earnest next week according to Jack De Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
"There's not a lot to trade on until earnings. That leaves geopolitics in charge," he said, linking the weak German data to the conflict in eastern Ukraine and economic sanctions against Russia, a major business partner of Berlin.
"There is also concern foreign currency moves are going to impact earnings negatively," he said.
The US dollar strengthened 0.3 per cent against the euro on Tuesday, trading near two-year highs, with the euro also weighed by the German data.
The Dow Jones industrial average was falling 86.75 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 16,905.16.
The S&P 500 was losing 8.27 points, or 0.42 per cent, at 1,956.55.
The Nasdaq Composite was dropping 20.11 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 4,434.69.
The S&P had hit a session low almost 10 points lower, at 1,947.41.
The largest percentage gainer on the New York Stock Exchange was IFM Investment Ltd, franchiser of Century 21 in China, rising 46.42 per cent. The largest percentage decliner was Christopher & Banks, down 28.02 per cent after the women's apparel retailer cut its third-quarter revenue forecast.
Among the top percentage gainers on the Nasdaq was RXi Pharmaceuticals, rising 19.05 per cent, while the largest percentage decliner was Innovative Solutions and Support, down 47.14 per cent.
Among the most active stocks on the NYSE were Petrobras, up 3.61 per cent at $16.37; Bank of America, down 1.04 per cent at $17.11, and Vale, up 1.59 per cent at $11.49.
On the Nasdaq, GT Advanced Technology, up 47.5 per cent at $1.18, and Apple, up 0.2 per cent at $99.78, were among the most actively traded. GT rallied but after a 92.8 per cent plunge to 80 cents on Monday. On Friday, the stock had closed at $11.05.
Sodastream tumbled 20.7 per cent to $21.86 after it estimated third-quarter revenue below analysts' expectations.
Declining issues were outnumbering advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,030 to 795, for a 2.55-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,849 issues were falling and 633 advancing for a 2.92-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
Copyright @ Thomson Reuters 2014