JPMorgan Chase & Co., Cisco Systems Inc. and General Electric Co. helped lead declines after the government said the cost of living slid by 1 percent in October, the most since records began in 1947. General Motors Corp. lost 11 percent as Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner pleaded for federal aid to save the auto industry. Losses were limited as oil's first advance in four days boosted energy producers and investors bought shares of companies less reliant on economic growth to lift earnings.
About two stocks fell for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 0.4 percent to 855.83 at 10:27 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 11.79 points, or 0.1 percent, to 8,412.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 0.2 percent to 1,480.75.
European stocks fell for the second day this week as concern deepened the economic slowdown will cut profits for chemical companies and financial firms.
The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index lost 2.4 percent to 197.05 at 2:55 p.m. in London, extending this year's drop to 46 percent.National benchmark indexes retreated in all of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 2.1 percent. Germany's DAX slid 3.1 percent and France's CAC 40 slipped 1.7 percent.
Japan stocks declined, led by financial companies, on concern the nation's drop into recession will lead to an increase in bad-loan costs. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 55.19, or 0.7 percent, to 8,273.22.
Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped for the third day. The benchmark lost 23.60 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3,499.60 at the close in Sydney, the lowest since Aug. 20, 2004.
Indian stocks reversed early gains to close lower for the sixth straight day after Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said companies should cut prices to boost demand, raising concern that earnings would drop. The benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, lost 163.42, or 1.8 percent, to 8,773.78, the lowest level since Oct. 27.