Johnson & Johnson, Goldman Sneeze and Stocks Catch a Cold


U.S. stocks fell Tuesday after weak first-quarter reports from Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs frustrated investors who hope that company earnings are on the rise. Health care companies lost the most.

Wall Street has high hopes for company earnings this spring, and weak results from the world’s largest health care products company, and one of the biggest financial firms, had them concerned. Johnson & Johnson took its biggest one-day loss in a year. Investors also looked for safety after the British government called for a surprise early election next month. Bond prices and the pound rose and European stock indexes tumbled.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 6.82 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,342.19. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 113.64 points, or 0.6 percent, to 20,523.28. Goldman Sachs was responsible for most of that loss.

The Nasdaq composite fell 7.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,849.47. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks recovered from an early loss and rose 0.71 points, close to 0.1 percent, to 1,361.89.

Johnson & Johnson stumbled after investors were disappointed with its sales. The maker of Tylenol and Band-Aids lost $3.90, or 3.1 percent, to $121.82.

Goldman Sachs’ revenue fell short of investor projections in the first quarter as its highly-regarded trading desks didn’t perform as well as their competitors. The stock gave up $10.6, or 4.7 percent, to $215.59, its biggest loss since June. The stock reached all-time highs above $250 a share in March.

As investors snapped up government bonds, their prices jumped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.18 percent, its lowest since Nov. 11. It finished at 2.25 percent Monday.

U.S. crude oil futures lost 24 cents to $52.41 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 47 cents to $54.89 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline fell 1 cent to $1.71 a gallon and heating oil dipped 1 cent to $1.62 a gallon. Natural gas lost 2 cents to $3.15 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $2.20 to $1,294.10 an ounce. Silver skidded 24 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $18.27 an ounce. Copper fell 7 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $2.53 a pound.

The dollar slipped to 108.42 yen from 108.59 yen. The euro rose to $1.0730 from $1.0642.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index in Japan added 0.4 percent while South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.1 percent to 2,148.46. The Hang Seng of Hong Kong shed 1.4 percent.