* United down after passenger dragged off plane Monday
* First close above 15 in VIX since Nov. 8
* Banks set to kick off 1st-quarter earnings season on
* Indexes down: Dow 0.03 pct, S&P 0.1 pct, Nasdaq 0.2 pct
(Updates close with volume)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, April 11 U.S. stocks ended down but
well off the day's lows on Tuesday, with worries over
geopolitical risks dragging down sentiment as investors readied
for the start of U.S. earnings.
The worries drove investors into gold and other safe-haven
assets and pushed up the CBOE Volatility index, Wall
Street's "fear gauge," which closed above 15 for the first time
since Election Day.
"Geopolitical risk is the focal point right now," said
Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in
Newark, New Jersey.
But, she said, "this is also a market trading at 18, 19
times forward earnings, and that's the higher range. The
earnings season is unfolding, and that's going to be important."
Earnings season begins this week with results from a handful
of banks. The financial sector, down 0.3 percent, was
among the day's worst performers.
Technology was the biggest drag, with the tech index
down 0.4 percent.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian
government warplanes dropped barrel bombs on rebel-held areas of
Hama province on Tuesday, a day after the United States said
their use could lead to further U.S. strikes in Syria.
Trump ordered a missile strike on the war-torn country last
week as a response to a poison gas attack that his
administration blamed on government forces, pitting the United
States against Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar
Adding to the dour mood, North Korea state media warned of a
nuclear attack on the United States if provoked as a U.S. Navy
strike group moved toward the western Pacific.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 6.72
points, or 0.03 percent, to 20,651.3, the S&P 500 lost
3.38 points, or 0.14 percent, to 2,353.78 and the Nasdaq
Composite dropped 14.15 points, or 0.24 percent, to
Stocks cut their losses in the last part of the session,
Trump, during a meeting with chief executives of U.S.
companies, said his administration was working to reduce
regulations and revamp the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law,
which may be eliminated and replaced with "something else."
Shares of United Continental fell 1.1 percent after
a worldwide backlash erupted against the carrier over a
passenger who was dragged off one of its U.S. flights.
Late in the trading session, its chief executive
issued an apology.
Thursday will be the last trading day of the week on Wall
Street ahead of the Good Friday holiday.
About 6.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges,
compared with the 6.7 billion daily average for the past 20
trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
1.61-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.29-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 5 new 52-week highs and one new low; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 59 new highs and 44 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak in New York and
Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama
and James Dalgleish)