Updated from 2:55 p.m. EST
Stocks in New York held steady slightly up for the day, with tech and financials at the forefront late Tuesday, after a mix of earnings and record-low economic data.
Despite depressing consumer confidence and housing price data, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
added 58.62 points, or 0.7%, to 8174.65, and the
gained 9.16 points, or 1.1%, to 847. The
tacked on 15.44 points, or 1%, to 1506 in the session.
Financials were again at the forefront of the Dow's gainers, with an
earnings beat pushing it beyond large increases by
Bank of America
16% post-earnings rise aided the Nasdaq.
Investors also found upside in quarterly results from the likes of
Bristol Myers Squibb
On the downside,
shares were falling some 5% after it reported earnings that were in-line-with to slightly less than expectations.
Add to that
and Wall Street is reminded of the dire state of the economy.
In Valero's case, CEO Bill Klesse said Tuesday that due to the economic uncertainty, the company is "severely reducing" its estimate for full-year 2009 capital spending, and could shutter refineries that it no longer wants to own if it is unable to them sell in the current economic downturn.
Meanwhile, the string of layoffs continued as
and Texas Instruments said they would
cut more than 3,000 employees apiece, and
The Wall Street Journal
layoff notices to more than 2,800 people in the U.S. last week.
If there's a silver lining, TI, which said its earnings fell 86%, still turned a better-than-expected profit.
"There's a lot of bad news and uncertainty, and a new administration that's starting to do what it's going to do," said Bernie McGinn, founder of McGinn Investment Management, late Monday. Now the market is waiting to see what that is as it searches for sustained movement in one direction or the other, he said.
U.S. President Barack Obama met with lawmakers Tuesday to rally support for his proposed $825 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment package to create millions of jobs and boost the economy out of the historic downturn.
The Senate appropriations committee approved a $365.6 billion portion of the stimulus package on Tuesday, sending legislation to the full Senate for consideration. But a tax-cut element is reportedly still under review.
The talk of a stimulus package appears to have had little effect on sentiment. Economists had thought record-low consumer confidence would improve slightly in the new year, but the degree of pessimism remains unabashed, according to the most recent data from the Conference Board. The consumer sentiment index for the current month fell to 37.7 from 38.6 in December.
The Conference-Board's survey emphasizes labor conditions more than any other major consumer confidence survey, which would explain its continued downward trend occurring amid flat to higher levels for other indexes, writes Tony Crescenzi, chief bond market strategist at Miller Tabak and Co. on his RealMoney blog.
"Details of the Conference-Board's survey are as dismal as the headline figure and add minimal insight except to show that perceptions about both the labor market and business conditions are very poor," he wrote.
Housing prices are faring no better, as the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index pointed out today. Prices for single-family homes fell 2.2% in December from November, slightly worse than expected. Prices were down by a record 18.2% from a year prior, which was slightly better than expected.
And as housing market conditions continue to deteriorate with the ailing economy, mortgage finance company
that it likely needs an injection of $11 billion to $16 billion from the government.
said it will need up to $35 billion atop the $13.8 billion of taxpayer help it received last year.
Late Monday, the full Senate voted to approve President Obama's nominee, Timothy Geithner, to head the U.S. Treasury. Geithner approval comes despite criticism over his previous underpayment of $34,000 in taxes.
Gold fell $11.20 to settle at $899.50 an ounce.
The weak economic data accelerated falling oil prices, which have been depressed by concerns about continually lagging demand. Crude oil fell $4.15, settling at $41.58 a barrel on Tuesday. Investors are awaiting more data on oil inventories later in the week.
Longer-dated Treasuries were recently rising; the 10-year note was recently up 30/32 to yield 2.5%, the 30-year was adding 2 21/32, yielding 3.3%.
The dollar was again stronger against the yen, and weaker against the pound and euro.
Overseas, the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt gave way to losses, as did Hong Kong's Hang Seng. Japan's Nikkei , however, managed a 4.9% gain for the day.