The markets closed lower as weak economic data kept buyers on the sidelines. The Dow lost 109 points to close at 12,422 while Nasdaq finished the session at 2324, down 16 points.
On the upside
Shares of consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide (NYSE: WW) climbed following an upgrade by a UBS analyst due to its ability to counter the economic slowdown with longer technology contracts.
Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) was one of the beneficiaries of higher coal prices. The coal-producing sector was upgraded by a Goldman Sachs analyst.
On the downside
Shares of Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR) lost ground after an analyst lowered his outlook for the home-furnishing retailer.
Industrial pipelines maker Ameron International (NYSE: AMN) posted higher earnings, but the results fell short of estimates.
Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) posted higher revenues and earnings, but sales missed expectations. Shares of the software company sold off in afterhour trading.
In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by
a margin of more than 4 to 3 on the NYSE and by 4 to 3 on Nasdaq. The
Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks closed at 702, down 3 points.