NEW YORK -- Stocks closed with steep losses Tuesday after disappointing earnings and reports that a key meeting of European financial ministers had been canceled. Assets that tend to hold their value in a weak economy such as U.S. government debt and gold rose.

Manufacturing conglomerate 3M cut its 2011 earnings forecast, and U.S. Steel warned that demand for its products could slow. Netflix plunged 35 percent after the company cut its profit forecast and said it is losing subscribers following a price increase in July. After the market closed, Amazon skidded 17 percent after its earnings fell short of forecasts.

The market also was pulled lower by a report that consumer confidence fell in October.

--The Dow Jones industrial average fell 207, or 1.7 percent, to close at 11,706.62.

--The S&P 500 index fell 25.14, or 2 percent, to 1,229.05.

--The Nasdaq dropped 61.02, or 2.3 percent, to 2,638.42.

Home prices up in half of 20 big cities studied

WASHINGTON -- Home prices rose in August in half of 20 major cities measured by a private survey, a sign that prices are stabilizing in some hard-hit portions of the country.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index showed Tuesday that prices increased in August from July in 10 of the cities tracked. That marked the fifth straight month that at least half of the cities showed gains.

The data provide a "modest glimmer of hope" that some areas have bottomed out and could be turning around, said David Blitzer of S&P's index committee. Robert Shiller, co-founder of the index, said on CNBC that overall prices were "flat" and a recovery was not on the horizon.

Delta to keep trimming capacity on its airplanes

MINNEAPOLIS -- Delta Air Lines will cut back on flights next year and probably be more expensive for passengers, too.

The nation's second-biggest carrier said Tuesday it will reduce flying into next year. CEO Richard Anderson said Delta is determined to price fares high enough to cover fuel costs, which rose by $1 billion in the last quarter compared to a year ago. Even so, Delta's earnings rose by 50 percent to $549 million. Revenue rose 10 percent to $9.8 billion.

Delta, the top carrier at Charleston International, cut flying by 1 percent last quarter. It plans to cut as much as 5 percent by year's end and up to 3 percent in 2012.

UPS sees net earnings climb 5%, maintains forecast

NEW YORK -- UPS said the global economy is leveling off, as growth in Europe and some U.S. units make up for sluggishness in the once-hot market for Asian imports.

The world's largest package-delivery company said Tuesday that improvement in its supply chain and freight business in the U.S. helped it boost third-quarter earnings by 5 percent to $1.04 billion. Revenue rose 8 percent to $13.17 billion. UPS also maintained its earnings forecast for the full year.