NEW YORK — Downbeat reports from Alcoa and Chevron at the start of corporate earnings season pulled stock indexes lower for a third straight day Wednesday.

Alcoa, the aluminum producer, beat Wall Street estimates late Tuesday, but said it expects a slowdown in China to weaken demand for aluminum. The company is often used as a weather vane for the global economy.

Chevron, the country’s second-largest oil company, warned late Tuesday that slumping oil prices and production would cause earnings to be “substantially lower.”

The Dow fell 128.56 to close at 13,344.97, just shy of 1 percent. The S&P 500 index fell 8.92 to 1,432.56. The Nasdaq lost 13.24 to 3,051.78.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. will take Unit 1 at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station offline Friday to begin a scheduled refueling outage. About one-third of the Fairfield County plant’s 157 fuel assemblies are replaced every 18 months. The outage also allows SCE&G to do other maintenance.

NBC Sports will air the women’s game of the Carrier Classic basketball doubleheader live from the aircraft carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point on Nov. 9, instead of later that night.

Morale Entertainment Foundation originally said the 4 p.m. game would air at 11 p.m. NBC has since decided to show it live.

The women’s game pits Ohio State against Notre Dame. The men’s matchup is between Ohio State and Marquette.

LONDON — A deal to create a European defense and aerospace giant to rival Boeing Co. collapsed Wednesday when BAE Systems and EADS NV called off merger talks in the face of government objections.

The companies said they had “decided to terminate their discussions” over the proposed $45 billion tie-up because of conflicting interests between the British, French and German governments. BAE has about 400 workers in the Charleston region.

WASHINGTON — Stronger housing markets helped boost economic growth at the end of the summer in nearly every region of the United States, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday.

The Fed said growth improved in 10 of its 12 regional banking districts from mid-August through September, while leveling off in one region and slowing in another. Rising home sales helped lift home prices in most districts.

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NEW YORK — FedEx, the world’s second-largest package delivery company, on Wednesday detailed its plan to boost profit by $1.7 billion annually by shedding jobs, aircraft and underused assets.

FedEx aims to reach that goal within three years through cost cuts and efficiency improvements.

The much anticipated restructuring is a response to a shift by customers to slower, less-expensive means of delivery.

Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith said most of the cost cuts will come in the company’s Express and Services units.

Staff and wire reports