Stocks fell again Tuesday as investors remained nervous about a looming debt ceiling crisis.
The Dow Jones Industrials jettisoned 88.01 points to greet noon Tuesday – day eight of the legislative standoff -- at 14,848.20
The S&P 500 index lost 12.97 points to 1,663.15. The NASDAQ plummeted 69.17 points to 3,701.21
While the Dow has dropped more than 250 points since the shutdown began, the markets are actually performing better than many had expected. All three major indexes remain up more than 13% for the year.
Despite heated posturing, many experts think the Democrats and Republicans will be able to reach a last-minute agreement to raise the debt ceiling before October 17 and avoid a default.
Tuesday is also the start of third-quarter earnings season, with results due after the closing bell from aluminum producer Alcoa and Yum Brand, the parent of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
While third-quarter earnings are expected to be lackluster, investors will likely remain focused on the debt drama playing out in Washington.
Shares of J.C. Penneyrose by more than 4% after the embattled retailer announced that sales were up in September from August. The company also reported a surge in online purchases during September.
But J.C. Penney still has a lot to prove. Even with Tuesday's bump, shares are down more than 50% for the year.
Prices for the 10-year U.S. Treasury recovered lost ground, lowering yields to Monday's 2.63%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Oil prices took on 58 cents to $103.61 U.S. a barrel.
Gold prices regained $1.50 at $1,326.20 U.S. an ounce.