NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market had its biggest drop in two months on Monday, led by a decline in energy stocks as the price of crude oil slumped. The retreat continued a weak start to the year on the U.S. stock market.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was down 161 points, or 1 percent, at 16,274 with an hour of trading left. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 22 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,819. The Nasdaq composite fell 64 points, or 1.6 percent, to 4,109.
OIL SLUMP: Energy stocks dropped along with the price of oil as investors worried that their revenue would take a hit. The price of crude oil fell 92 cents, or 1 percent, to $91.80 a barrel as prospects increased that Iran would export more oil. Iran and six world powers announced a deal over the country's nuclear program Sunday that could ease sanctions on the country. Exxon Mobil fell $2.13, or 2 percent, to $98.39. The energy sector as a whole fell 2 percent, the most of the 10 in the S&P 500 index.
FED TALK: Investors also worried about more cuts to the Federal Reserve's big economic stimulus program. Dennis Lockhart, the President of the Federal Reserve's Atlanta branch, said Monday that he would support further cuts "over the course of this year" if the economy continued to improve. Policymakers said in December that they intended to reduce their purchases of bonds by $10 billion a month to $75 billion. The Fed's stimulus was a key driver of the market's rally last year.
SLOW START: The stock market is getting the year off to a slow start after an exceptionally strong performance in 2013. The S&P 500 is down 1.5 percent so far this year, after climbing almost 30 percent last year. A weak December jobs report that was released Friday has left investors feeling cautious about the economy.
BIG BANKS AND OTHERS: JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America are among the big banks that will report fourth-quarter earnings this week. Best Buy and General Electric are among the non-financial companies that will report earnings.
EARNINGS WATCH: "The market will take its direction from how well, or how poorly, corporate earnings season is unfolding," said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors. "I think we're setting up for a positive surprise."
GROWTH FORECAST: Analysts expect fourth-quarter earnings to rise by 5.8 percent for S&P 500 companies, according to S&P Capital IQ. That would be a slight increase from the 5.7 percent rate in the previous quarter and the highest since the fourth quarter in 2012.
DOWNWARD-FACING SALES: Lululemon Athletica fell $9.79, or 16.4 percent, to $49.81 after the high-end yoga apparel maker said sales have dropped off in January and its fourth-quarter results will be lower than expected.
NO DEAL: Scripps Networks slumped $5.29, or 6.5 percent, to $76.72 after the Wall Street Journal reported that talks about a merger between the cable network operator, which owns HGTV, and Discovery Communications had ended.
MIXED DRINKS: Beam, the maker of Jim Beam, Maker's Mark and other liquors jumped $16.15, or 24.1 percent, to $83.12 after the company announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Japan's Suntory for $14 billion.
TREASURYS AND GOLD: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.83 percent from 2.86 percent from Friday. Gold rose $4.20, or 0.3 percent, to $1,251.10 an ounce.