Stocks have fallen off a cliff today after two large conglomerates released earnings that spooked the market. The weak earnings reports stoked fears that the global economy is still in a fragile state and earnings growth will be subdued in the near term. As of 3:30 p.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is down 1.66%, and the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is down 1.3%.
E.l. du Pont de Nemours (NYSE:DD), better known as DuPont, is the biggest loser on the Dow today, falling 9.6%. The company reported a 9.8% decline in net sales to $7.4 billion, and earnings fell to $0.44 per share from $0.69 per share a year ago. There's really no way to sugarcoat the numbers; it was simply a terrible quarter. What's worse is that the company's full-year guidance was reduced to $3.25 to $3.30 per share from a previous range of $4.20 to $4.40, and it will cut employment by 1,500 jobs.
3M (NYSE:MMM) has dropped 4% after issuing a slight revenue miss and disappointing guidance for the fourth quarter. The company said it expects full-year profit to be $6.27 to $6.35 per share, down from previous guidance of $6.35 to $6.50. 3M has been hit hard by a strong dollar, which makes revenue and profits overseas look lower. Because the company generates 70% of sales overseas, the impact on earnings is material.
Energy stocks are also moving dramatically lower today. Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has fallen 2.9%, and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) has fallen 2% because oil took another big hit today. The commodity fell below $86 per barrel for a short time, and as I write it's down 2.3% for the day. The weak projections for the economy are helping to drive the commodity south -- which, ironically, will help the consumer going forward.
Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw. The Motley Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Chevron and 3M Company. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.