NEW YORK — U.S. stocks fell for a third day Thursday, as results from 3M and Caterpillar disappointed investors and commodities continued to slide.

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks fell for a third day Thursday, as results from 3M and Caterpillar disappointed investors and commodities continued to slide.

3M and Caterpillar dropped at least 3.6 percent after both cut their sales forecasts. Miner Freeport-McMoRan plunged 9.4 percent as metals prices continued to retreat. General Motors jumped 4.2 percent as rising truck sales boosted profits. and Visa rallied in late trading after results beat estimates.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.6 percent to 2,102.15, closing just below its average price during the past 50 days. The Dow Jones industrial average declined 119.12 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,731.92, while the Nasdaq composite index lost 0.5 percent, erasing an earlier gain. About 7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 9 percent higher than the three-month average.

"Investors have been somewhat surprised at how unimpressive earnings have been considering where the stock market is," said Jeff Sica, who oversees over $1.5 billion as president and chief executive officer of Circle Squared Alternative Investments in Morristown, New Jersey. "Earnings have not proven to be the catalyst they’ve looked for. Investors are just very tentative."

Sluggish international markets are damping earnings at U.S. industrials giants. Caterpillar is selling fewer of its signature yellow diggers and dump trucks to miners amid the deepening slump in prices for copper, coal and iron ore. Sales of engines and generators to the energy industry also have been hurt by the slide in oil and natural gas prices.

Analysts now call for a 5.3 percent drop in second-quarter profit for S&P 500 companies, shallower than July 10 estimates for a 6.4 percent decline.

Amazon soared 19 percent as of 4:51 p.m. as quarterly revenue jumped 20 percent, buoyed by its fast-growing cloud computing business and efforts to lure more customers with online video and faster delivery of goods bought on the Web.

Visa gained 6.5 percent as the world’s largest payments network said profit rose 25 percent as consumer spending increased.

The S&P 500 has gone without a fresh peak for the longest stretch since 2013, stuck in a pattern of nearing an all-time high without breaking it for two months now. The gauge is 1.4 percent away from its May record, after sliding as much as 4 percent from the high as concerns about Greece’s debt crisis and China’s stock market rout weighed on sentiment.

Investors are also watching economic reports for clues on when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates. Dataon Thursday showed jobless claims plunged to the lowest level in four decades. A separate report said the index of U.S. leading economic indicators climbed more than forecast in June as historically low borrowing costs and a rebound in housing propelled growth.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg put odds for a September Fed rate increase at 50 percent, exactly where they were in June. The outlook for a September move remained intact even as crises in Greece and China temporarily rocked markets and dimmed global economic prospects.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index rose 4.3 percent Thursday to 12.64. The gauge is up 5.8 percent for the week after it tumbled 29 percent last week, the biggest such slide since January.

Utility and raw-material companies fell the most, as all of the S&P 500’s 10 main groups retreated. Freeport-McMoRan sank 9.4 percent, amid uncertainty about the copper producer’s direction. Dow Chemical lost 4.5 percent, the most this year, as second-quarter sales were below estimates.

Transportation companies sank for the third time in four days, with Union Pacific dropping 5.7 percent, the most since Sept. 2011. The railroad’s chief financial officer said profits this year are unlikely to grow after 2014’s record. Kansas City Southern and Norfolk Southern slipped at least 2.2 percent. The Dow Jones transportation average lost 2.1 percent.

United Rentals dropped almost 14 percent to its lowest since Nov. 2013, pacing declines with Caterpillar and 3M in the industrials group. The construction-equipment rental company cut its 2015 revenue outlook.

American Express fell the most in three weeks, while Discover Financial Services decreased 4.2 percent, its biggest slide since its quarterly report in January. Discover’s second- quarter revenue was below analysts’ forecasts.

The technology group declined after a brief rebound from the worst drop in two weeks. Qualcomm Inc. fell 3.8 percent after posting its biggest sales decline since 2009. That offset some of SanDisk’s Corp.’s 18 percent rally on its better-than- estimated results.

Google and Facebook slid more than 1.6 percent. Apple was little changed, erasing an earlier 1.5 percent climb, after its largest retreat in almost 18 months.

Semiconductors climbed for the first time in five sessions as Skyworks Solutions and Micron Technology rallied more than 3.4 percent. Texas Instruments Inc. gained 2.5 percent.

A Bloomberg gauge of U.S. airlines advanced for a third day to a two-month high. Southwest Airlines jumped 3.9 percent after saying it would accelerate the pace of stock buybacks. American Airlines and Spirit Airlines added more than 2.2 percent.

Under Armour jumped 7.3 percent, the most in a year, to an all-time high. The athletic-gear maker’s second-quarter earnings topped analysts’ estimates, helped by a push into footwear and other new products.


With assistance from Sofia Horta e Costa in London and Cecile Daurat in Wilmington.