NEW YORK – Technology companies led the stock market to its third straight loss Thursday after an earnings report from Cisco Systems raised more questions about the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 58 points and has lost nearly 380 points the past three days. The Dow has also fallen five of the past six days. The Nasdaq composite index had a steeper loss in percentage terms, a reflection of the drop in tech stocks.

Cisco Systems Inc. released earnings after the market closed Wednesday. Cisco is seen by many traders and analysts as an indicator of the economy’s health, and it disappointed investors in several ways. The computer networking company’s revenue for its fiscal fourth quarter and forecast for revenue fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Craig Peckham, a market strategist at Jefferies & Co., noted that Cisco’s quarter ended in July, a month later than at most companies, so it gives investors a first look at how businesses are doing in the July-September period.

Technology stocks were the worst performers Thursday among the nine sectors that make up the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. The tech sector fell 1.15 percent. Cisco was down 10 percent. Microsoft Corp. was down 1.5 percent, and Oracle Corp. fell 3 percent.

Other big stocks seen as vulnerable in a weak economy also fell. FedEx Corp. lost 1.4 percent and Caterpillar Inc. fell 1.8 percent. Health care companies, called defensive stocks because they are likely to do well in a weak economy, were among the day’s winners.


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