Dow Fails to Hold 14,000 - TheStreet

Updated from 4:07 p.m. EDT

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

marched past the 14,000 mark for the first time ever Tuesday -- less than three months after it crossed 13,000 -- but it wasn't able to hold on.

Several times during trading the Dow went above the milestone. However, by the close it was showing a gain of just 20.57 points, or 0.15%, at 13,971.55. Still that was good enough for a fourth straight record finish.

The

Nasdaq

was better by 14.96 points, or 0.55%, at 2712.29. The

S&P 500

lagged, easing by 0.15 point, or 0.01%, to close at 1549.37.

Jay Suskind, head of institutional trading with Ryan Beck & Co., said that while breaking 14,000 seems like merely a headline grabber, the market's movement over the last three months should be acknowledged as impressive.

"Dow 14,000 shows the underlying strength of the market, but I don't think it's that big of a deal if we don't close above that level," he said earlier. "It's certainly more a psychological level for traders than anything, and it may even take several tries before we can close above this level, but these gains are pretty remarkable."

The Dow, which achieved 13,000 in late April, was coming off a day in which it rose 43.73 points, or 0.31%, to 13,950.98. Also during the previous session, the S&P reached an intraday record before retreating, ending down 2.98 points to 1549.52. The Nasdaq slipped 9.67 points, or 0.36%.

Volume rose compared to the previous session. About 3.02 billion shares changed hands on the

New York Stock Exchange

, as decliners topped advancers by a 9-to-7 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 2.20 billion shares, with losers matching winners.

Energy prices made a push above $75 a barrel, but the front-month August contract took a turn south and was down 13 cents to $74.02 a barrel. Gasoline prices fell 2.5 cents to $2.10 a gallon.

Meanwhile, earnings were beginning to flow in at full force, but dealmaking news managed to steal some of the spotlight.

The Wall Street Journal

reported that

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

has reached a tentative deal to buy the paper's parent company

Dow Jones

( DJ) for $5 billion. However, the report said some of the Bancrofts, the family that controls Dow, still had reservations.

News Corp. was higher by 62 cents, or 2.6%, to close at $24.25. Dow Jones eased 50 cents, or 0.9%, to $56.45.

Elsewhere, Basell of the Netherlands, whose offer for

Huntsman

(HUN) - Get Report

was recently turned down, agreed to acquire

Lyondell

( LYO) for $48 a share, or more than $12 billion. Lyondell surged $6.93, or 17.3%, to $47.05.

In the energy sector,

Plains Exploration

(PXP)

said it would take over rival

Pogo Producing

(PPP)

in a cash and stock deal valued at $3.6 billion. Plains Exploration fell 6.5% to $47.88, while Pogo Producing jumped 13.9% to close at $57.50.

As for earnings,

Coca-Cola

(KO) - Get Report

topped analysts' second-quarter estimates and said revenue jumped to $7.73 billion from $6.48 billion a year earlier. The stock shed 68 cents, or 1.3%, to $53.17.

Merrill Lynch

( MER) and

Johnson & Johnson

(JNJ) - Get Report

were also better than expected, as were

KeyCorp

(KEY) - Get Report

and

State Street

(STT) - Get Report

.

Novartis

(NVS) - Get Report

, though, lowered its forecast. Shares ended the day with a loss of $1.32, or 2.4%, to $54.13.

The earnings torrent continues Wednesday, with releases expected from

Altria

(MO) - Get Report

,

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

,

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

and

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, among others.

On the research front, UBS upgraded three major airlines, taking

AMR

(AMR)

,

Delta

(DAL) - Get Report

and

United Airlines

( UAUA) to neutral ratings from reduce.

Even with the abundance of corporate news, both stock and bond traders also had to contend with incoming data for clues about the overall health of the economy. Before the opening bell, the Labor Department said its producer price index for June showed that inflation ticked higher at the wholesale level.

The headline index fell 0.2%, below projections for a 0.2% rise. The core index, which excludes food and energy, rose a greater-than-expected 0.3%. The core rate has advanced 1.8% year over year, up from May's 1.6% rise, but within the

Federal Reserve's

comfort range for inflation of 1% to 2%.

"The May and June surges in core producer prices indicate higher energy prices and slower productivity growth are filtering through to the wholesale prices businesses pay," said Peter Morici, professor at the University of Maryland School of Business and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission. "This bodes poorly for

keeping core consumer price inflation down below Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's target."

A day from now, the consumer price index, viewed as the more important of the two measures, will be out. The report will come just as Bernanke heads to Capitol Hill for two days of Congressional testimony.

Also on the economic docket, the Fed said industrial production rose 0.5% last month, matching estimates. Capacity utilization climbed to 81.7% from 81.4%, slightly above the consensus target.

Following the data, Treasury prices were slightly lower. The 10-year note was down 10/32 in price, yielding 5.07%, and the 30-year bond lost 15/32, yielding 5.16%.

Markets overseas were mostly weaker, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng tacked on 0.5%. Tokyo's Nikkei slipped 0.1%. London's FTSE lost 0.6%, and Frankfurt's DAX shed 0.8%.