Stocks turn mixed

Wall Street seesaws on a mix of corporate results and ongoing concerns about the financial sector.

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By staff

Which Fortune 500 company will emerge from the recession with the most respect?
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Wal-Mart
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  • ConocoPhillips
  • GE

NEW YORK( -- Stocks turned mixed Tuesday morning after falling in the early going, as investors considered a range of quarterly results but also opted to dip back in after the previous session's retreat.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) lost 27 points, or 0.3% around 30 minutes into the session. The S&P 500 (SPX) index fell 2 points, or 0.2%. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) gained 9 points, or 0.5%.

A six-week old rally for U.S. stocks lost ground Monday. Wall Street sank on worries about financial sector profits after Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) posted better-than-expected results but warned of "deteriorating credit quality."

Despite Monday's selloff, lackluster corporate reports should not rattle investors too much going forward, said Robert Brusca, chief economist at Fact and Opinion Economics.

"Corporations are having a bad quarter," Brusca said. "We can't expect good [earnings reports] against that background."

Earnings: IBM (IBM, Fortune 500) reported earnings that topped Wall Street's estimates after U.S. markets closed Monday. The company, however, reported a drop in sales.

Also late Monday, chipmaker Texas Instruments (TXN, Fortune 500) posted weaker results that topped estimates.

Before the opening bell Tuesday, chemical maker DuPont (DD, Fortune 500) posted a decline in quarterly earnings and cut its full-year earnings forecast.

Delta Air Lines (DAL, Fortune 500), health insurer UnitedHealth Group (UNH, Fortune 500) and heavy equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT, Fortune 500) all posted earnings shortfalls, but beat expectations.

United Technologies (UTX, Fortune 500) and Coca-Cola (KO, Fortune 500) reported earnings in line with expectations, while Merck (MRK, Fortune 500) and Bank of New York Mellon (BK, Fortune 500) posted disappointing results.

Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, Fortune 500) were slated to report quarterly results after the closing bell.

TARP oversight: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is due to testify at a hearing on oversight of the government's $700 billion bailout program at 10 a.m. ET.

World markets: Stocks in Asia tumbled, mirroring Wall Street's overnight losses. Japan's Nikkei ended the session down more than 2%. European shares were lower in afternoon trading.

Oil and money: Oil prices fell $1.84 a barrel to $44.04. The dollar was lower versus the euro and higher against the yen. To top of page

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