Stocks on Wall Street suffer their first three-day losing streak of the year.
The equity market got off to a hot start, but quickly lost its footing. The Dow Industrials fell 126 points, sliding back below the 15-thousand mark, while the Nasdaq dropped 36, and the S&P 500 slipped 13 points.
But it's not just the declines that have investors concerned: The market is choppier than it's been in months. For the second day in a row, blue chips swung in a triple-digit range, indicating uncertainty. Traders are trying to figure out when the Federal Reserve will start to taper off its quantitative easing program, and how to position themselves ahead of that move.
Every stock sector posted losses today, with utilities falling the most. Among Dow stocks, American Express was the biggest loser, down 2.5 percent. But Hewlett-Packard jumped nearly 3 percent, after CEO Meg Whitman told CNBC that the company is ahead of schedule on its five-year turnaround plan, and revenue growth is still possible in the next fiscal year.
It was a big debut for Gigamon. The data-management company surged 50 percent, trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "GIMO."
And memory-chip designer Rambus also bucked the downward trend, rising 6.5 percent. It's getting $240 million as part of a patent settlement with Korean rival SK Hynix.
Pfizer finished slightly higher after settling another long-running patent dispute. Teva and Sun Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay more than $2 billion in damages for selling a generic version of Pfizer's acid-reflux drug Protonix in the United States.
Elsewhere in the pharma sector, shares of Biogen Idec tumbled nearly 7.5 percent. A Citi analyst lowered his rating on the stock, saying Biogen's new multiple-sclerosis treatment could face generic competition in Europe.
And finally, a big international acquisition: India's Apollo Tyres is buying Cooper Tire & Rubber for about $2.5 billion. Shares of Cooper exploded more than 41 percent higher on the news.
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