Stocks head for early sell-off

October 23, 2012: 8:00 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

U.S. stock futures turned sharply lower Tuesday after three Dow components issued disappointing earnings and forecasts.

Futures were already pointing to a lower open as news surrounding Spain unnerved investors.

The euro fell below the key $1.30 level after ratings agency Moody's downgraded five of Spain's regional governments, including Catalonia -- the largest. And the gross domestic product for Spain, which has been mired in recession for months, fell by 0.4% in the third quarter from the second quarter, according to data released Tuesday from the Bank of Spain.

European stocks were lower in midday trading. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) fell 1.2%, the DAX (DAX)in Germany lost 1.4% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) declined 0.8%.

With no data on the U.S. economy, investors were focused on the latest quarterly reports from Corporate America.

Shares DuPont (DD) fell 5% ahead of the bell after the Dow component reported weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings and announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs worldwide. Another Dow component, United Technologies (UTX), reported better-than-expected earnings but missed on revenue and lowered its revenue forecast for next year.

Economic bellwether and Dow component 3M (MMM)reported earnings that were in line with forecasts, but the company missed revenue estimates and pulled back on its guidance.

UPS (UPS), another economic bellwether, reported results that were roughly in line with expectations.

Related: Facebook earnings will spotlight mobile

After the bell, Facebook (FB) and Netflix (NFLX) will release their reports.

Analysts at S&P Capital IQ predict third-quarter earnings for companies in the S&P 500 will grow by just 0.04% overall this quarter, the worst since the third quarter of 2009.

In addition to the earnings news, Apple (AAPL) is expected to unveil its iPad mini at an event in California at 1 p.m. ET.

U.S. stocks closed a choppy session little changed on Monday.

Fear & Greed Index

World Markets: Asian markets closed mixed. The Shanghai Composite slid 0.6% and Japan's Nikkei was little changed. The Hong Kong exchange was closed for a holiday.

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Companies: Yahoo (YHOO) shares rose 3% ahead of the bell after the company's third-quarter earnings handily beat estimates late Monday.

Shares of hard drive maker Western Digital Corporation (WDC) were down 4% in early action Tuesday, after the company offered weak guidance on Monday for the upcoming quarter, citing weakness in the PC industry.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar rose against the euro, but fell versus the British pound and the Japanese yen.

Oil for December delivery $1.13 to $87.53 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery $14 to $1,712.20 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury edged higher, pushing the yield down to 1.77% from 1.80% late Monday.

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Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,042.90 -28.32 -0.17%
Nasdaq 4,493.39 -12.46 -0.28%
S&P 500 1,972.29 -5.51 -0.28%
Treasuries 2.51 0.02 0.68%
Data as of 5:40am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 14.79 -0.32 -2.12%
Bank of America Corp... 17.05 0.04 0.24%
eBay Inc 56.63 3.97 7.54%
Apple Inc 100.75 0.64 0.64%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.20 0.79%
Data as of Sep 30