A week of record highs ended with a thump today as the major markets plummeted after a flurry of disappointing quarterly earnings reports. The Dow, which crested 14,000 yesterday, dropped 149.33 to close at 13,851.08, off more than 1%. The S&P 500, beset by worries about banks' earnings, fell 18.98 to 1,534.10. The Nasdaq dropped 32.44, closing at 2,687.60.
Google and Caterpillar missed estimates and led the Dow retreat. The Internet giant spent heavily on staffing and product development, dragging down profits. Caterpillar chalked up its drop to softening demand for construction equipment, yet another ripple from the falling rock that is the housing market. Citigroup exceeded expectation but lost ground after announcing an increase in bad-loan reserves.