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US: Stocks fall as big earnings week kicks off

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks tumbled on Monday at the start of a heavy week for earnings that began with disappointing reports from Caterpillar and others.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.9 per cent to close the session at 24,528.22.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.8 per cent to end at 2,643.85, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 1.1 per cent to 7,085.68.

Dow member Caterpillar, an industrial company seen as a proxy for global growth, sank 9.1 per cent after projecting weaker-than-expected 2019 profits, in part due to slower sales in China.

Chip company Nvidia also cited deteriorating macroeconomic conditions in China for denting consumer demand as a driver of lower profit and revenue outlook.

Shares of Nvidia plummeted 13.8 per cent. Other chip companies such as Advanced Micro Devices and Texas Instruments also fell.

This week's earnings calendar includes Apple, Amazon, Boeing and Exxon Mobil.

Other key events this week with market-moving implications include a Federal Reserve meeting, US-China trade talks in Washington and the January US jobs report.

"This is a very key week," said Bill Lynch at Hinsdale Associates. "China is now the most important topic in the market."

The benchmark Dow has risen five weeks in a row on rising expectations that the Federal Reserve will take a cautious approach to further interest rate increases, and hopes for a US-China trade deal, dynamics that have helped offset worries about slowing global growth.