Stocks tumbled Monday, and investors showed signs they were starting to get a little bit nervous about 2014. There are a number of factors that have propelled this year's early string of losses. Earnings season is starting with lots of companies warning their results will not meet expectations. Also causing some concern Monday were comments from Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart in support of Federal Reserve's plan to continue cutting back on its bond-buying stimulus program.
And then there's investor sentiment. The growing feeling is that last year's rally was, well, so last year.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) slid 179 points, a fourth straight loss. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) fell 23, and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) tumbled 61 points.
Among the Dow's worst performers: Nike (NKE), Exxon-Mobil (XOM), Disney (DIS) and Microsoft (DIS) all lost 2 percent or more. The only big winner was Merck (MRK), which rallied 6 percent after a preliminary FDA review strongly endorsed the company's drug to prevent blood clots.
Retail stocks continued to slide. Lululemon (LULU) tumbled 16.5 percent after the maker of yoga gear cut its fourth-quarter outlook. The stock has been on a steady downward path over the past three months, losing about a third of its value.
Two other retailers of women's apparel were also battered. Express (EXPR) reported a drop in store traffic. It fell 4.5 percent. And Ascena (ASNA), which owns Dress Barn, Lane Bryant and other chains, fell 7 percent.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Target (TGT) lost nearly 2 percent. House Democrats want the Financial Services Committee to investigate the hacking of credit card and other personal data of as many as 110 million Americans. J.C. Penney (JCP) lost 8 percent and Kohl's (KSS) fell 6 percent.
Elsewhere, last week's big winner, Intercept (ICPT) Pharmaceuticals gave back 18 percent on word its liver treatment raised cholesterol levels in some trial patients.
But cheers to shareholders of the liquor company Beam (BEAM). It agreed to be acquired, sending the stock up 24 percent. Rival Brown-Forman (BF-A), maker of Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort, among other spirits, rose 4 percent.
Netflix (NFLX) gained 1.5 percent on its success at last night's Golden Globes.
And Alnylam Pharma (ALNY) soared 41 percent after expanding its collaboration with Genzyme, a subsidiary of Sanofi (SNY).
What to Watch Tuesday:
The Commerce Department releases retail sales data for December at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time and business inventories for November at 10 a.m.
These major companies are due to report quarterly financial results before U.S. markets open:
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.