US stock indexes drop as economic, earnings worries rise

U.S. stock indexes sank in early trading Thursday, following European markets and the price of crude oil lower as pessimism built about the strength of the global economy and upcoming earnings reports.

Sharp drops for Twitter and technology stocks weighed on the S&P 500 index, which broke a five-day winning streak on Wednesday. Twitter gave a better-than-expected earnings report for its latest quarter, but its stock price tumbled after it said revenue for this quarter may fall short of some analysts’ estimates.

Twitter’s discouraging forecast fed into growing concerns across the market that earnings at U.S. companies will weaken in the first three months of this year.

It’s similar to worries about the overall economy. Thursday brought another report showing the U.S. economy is strong, as the Labor Department said fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week. That’s a sign that the job market remains strong, but many economists expect the U.S. economy to slow this year along with economies around the world. Worries were focused in particular on Europe Thursday.

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KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 fell 0.8 percent as of 10:08 a.m. Eastern time, and was on pace for its worst day in more than two weeks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 172 points, or 0.7 percent, to 25,218, and the Nasdaq composite dropped 1 percent.

BLOCKED: Twitter sank 9.9 percent for one of the biggest losses in the S&P 500 after it said its monthly user base fell to 321 million during its latest quarter from 330 million a year earlier. It also said it expects to make $715 million to $775 million in revenue during the

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