NEW YORK (Reuters) –
Stocks slid on Monday on more evidence the year-long recession will keep eating into corporate profits, while retailers tumbled on worry the holiday shopping season could be the worst in nearly 40 years.
The news was gloomy right from the start. Top U.S. staffing company Manpower (MAN.N) scrapped its profit outlook and No. 1 drug store chain Walgreen Co (WAG.N) posted a weaker-than-expected profit and slowed its expansion plans.
The auto sector was again a main source of investor anxiety, cutting short the relief over last week's bailout deal for U.S. car makers.
Japan's Toyota Motor Co (7203.T)(TM.N) said it would post an operating loss for the first time in 71 years, knocking its U.S. shares more than 5 percent lower, while investors worried whether Washington's rescue package for General Motors would leave its shareholders out in the cold. GM plunged more than 20 percent.
"From Toyota to developers to pharmacies, obviously we're in quite a recession and it's pretty obvious there's more pain to come," said Warren Simpson, managing director at Stephens Capital Management in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Concerns over the outlook for retailers mounted just days before Christmas as investors worried that cash-strapped consumers had kept a lid on shopping despite deep discounts over the last weekend before the holiday.
The weak outlook for consumer spending and the economy dragged crude oil prices lower, again, taking oil producer shares down.
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) fell 59.42 points, or 0.69 percent, to 8,519.69. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) was down 16.25 points, or 1.83 percent, at 871.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) gave up 31.97 points, or 2.04 percent, at 1,532.35.
Indexes finished well off their session lows. Trading was thin for most of the session and was expected to be light throughout the holiday-shortened week.
With just six trading days remaining in the year, there is little hope the markets will avoid having their worst yearly performance since the 1930s. The S&P 500 is down about 40 percent for the year.
Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) was among the Dow's biggest drags, falling 2.1 percent to $41.78 after the heavy equipment maker said it would cut white-collar pay by up to 50 percent and offer buyouts to some employees.
General Motors Corp (GM.N) sagged for the first time since the $17.4 billion lifeline from the U.S. government was announced.
A Credit Suisse analyst said the equity of GM may be wiped out as it complies with the restructuring targets laid out in the bailout. GM was down 21.6 percent at $3.52.
New York-listed shares of Toyota were down 5.4 percent at $60.88 after it said it was impossible to predict how severely the current "unprecedented emergency" would cut the global demand for cars next year. [ID:nT299128].
Energy and other resource companies slid as the price of oil dropped below $40 a barrel on signs the global economic downturn is further drying up fuel demand. Dow component Chevron (CVX.N) was down 2.1 percent at $69.39.
Walgreen said it was opening fewer stores than it previously planned as consumers curbed their spending, while rival CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N) also said customers are cutting back. Walgreen fell 4.2 percent to $24.98 and CVS trimmed earlier losses to edge down 0.2 percent to $26.91.
Manpower withdrew its profit outlook, citing light demand for temporary workers due to the spreading global recession, sending its shares down 14.2 percent to $31.22.
Retailers buckled under dwindling consumer demand in what is usually the busiest shopping season. J.C. Penney Inc (JCP.N) shed 5.8 percent to $18.77, and Liz Claiborne Inc (LIZ.N) lost 7.2 percent to $2.98.
Trading was low on the New York Stock Exchange, with about 1.22 billion shares changing hands, below last year's estimated daily average of roughly 1.9 billion, while on Nasdaq about 1.66 billion shares traded, below last year's daily average of 2.17 billion.
Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,141 to 979 while decliners beat advancers on the Nasdaq by about 1,873 to 911.
(Editing by Leslie Adler)