By David Carrig
Stocks gave back early gains and fell sharply in the last hour of trading as the major indexes closed lower, breaking a two-day winning streak.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 5.43 points, or less than 0.1%, to 17,875.42, after being up more than 100 points earlier in the session. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 4.29 points, or 0.2%, to 2076.33 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index fell 7.08 points, or 0.1%, to 4910.23.
Investors have been on edge in advance of earnings season as fears of slowing corporate profits have weighed on markets. First-quarter earnings season kicks off Wednesday as Alcoa reports results after the bell.
Wall Street analysts expect profits for S&P 500 companies to contract 2.8%, which would mark the first year-over-year earnings drop since the third quarter of 2009, according to earnings tracker Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
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