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US stocks fall; Tesla, biotechs weigh on Nasdaq

US stocks opened lower on Tuesday as investors fled risky assets after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane, even as data pointed to stronger US economic growth.

[NEW YORK] US stocks finished lower Tuesday following mixed earnings, with the Nasdaq especially weak due to steep declines in biotech shares and Tesla Motors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 13.43 points (0.08 per cent) to 17,217.11.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 2.89 (0.14 per cent) to 2,030.77, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 24.50 (0.50 percent) to 4,880.97.

Nasdaq-listed Tesla slumped 6.6 per cent after Consumer Reports said the carmaker's "Model S" electric car has a poor reliability performance.

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Biotech companies also fell, including Celgene (-2.7 per cent) and Gilead Sciences (-1.9 per cent), part of a sell-off in pharma stocks that also hit Dow members Pfizer (-1.5 per cent) and Merck (-2.0 per cent).

Other large technology stocks also fell, including Amazon (-2.2 per cent) and Google (-2.4 per cent). But Apple jumped 1.8 per cent after chief executive Tim Cook said the technology giant's new music service already has some 6.5 million subscribers.

Dow member IBM sank 5.8 per cent after reporting that revenues fell for the 14th straight quarter and trimming its full-year profit forecast.

Harley-Davidson plummeted 13.9 per cent after announcing it would cut an unspecified number of jobs in response to lower sales. Earnings for the third-quarter fell 6.5 per cent to US$140.3 million.

Dow member United Technologies rose 3.9 per cent after reporting that third-quarter earnings translated into US$1.61 per share, above the US$1.55 projected by analysts.

Among other companies reporting earnings, Verizon rose 1.2 per cent and Travelers advanced 2.5 per cent while Lockheed Martin fell 0.9 per cent.

Yum Brands, the owner of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, advanced 1.8 per cent on news it will split off its China business into a separate company.

United Continental fell 1.8 per cent after announcing that general counsel Brett Hart will serve as acting chief executive, substituting for newly appointed CEO Oscar Munoz, who was hospitalized Thursday after a heart attack.

Weight Watchers International rose 31.1 per cent, surging for a second straight day following news of its partnership with Oprah Winfrey. Shares more than doubled on Monday.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.07 per cent from 2.02 per cent Monday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.92 per cent from 2.88 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.