Updated from 4:04 p.m. EDT
Stocks put in a mixed Tuesday as traders seemed willing to await the outcome of the two-day
meeting before putting fresh capital to work.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 10.97 points, or 0.09%, and reached another record close at 12,127.88. Half of the Dow's 30 components finished with gains, led by
tacked on 0.36 points, or 0.03%, at 1377.38, and the
shed 10.72 points, or 0.46%, to 2344.84, pressured by a 5.6% drop in
Stocks hung around the breakeven line for most of the session as the Fed began the first day of a two-day policy meeting. The vast majority of analysts expect the central bank to keep its target fed funds rate unchanged at 5.25% for the third straight gathering.
"Everybody is waiting around for tomorrow's Fed announcement and no one seemed to take a stance ahead of the decision," said Edgar Peters, chief investment officer with Pan Agora. "Until we get a bias from the Fed, we may continue to drift."
Volume improved from Monday's levels. About 2.80 billion shares changed hands on the
New York Stock Exchange
. Advancers beat decliners by a 9-to-7 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq was roughly 1.90 billion shares, with losers outpacing winners 3 to 2.
Among Tuesday's big earnings reports was chemicals giant and Dow component
. The company said it earned $485 million, or 52 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, reversing a year-ago loss. Excluding items, earnings of 49 cents topped estimates by 4 cents. Revenue rose 7% from a year ago to $6.31 billion and was also better than expected. DuPont rose 55 cents, or 1.2%, to $46.
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got past Wall Street's fourth-quarter targets and said it should close the merger with
by the end of the year.
Separately, Alcatel said its third-quarter earnings fell to 14 cents an American depositary share from 24 cents a year earlier. Sales rose 6.3% from the same quarter a year earlier. Lucent jumped by 15 cents, or 6.4%, to close at $2.49.
was on the rise after reporting third-quarter results and raising its guidance. The company posted earnings of $629 million, or $1.46 a share, up 47% from a year earlier. Profits handily beat estimates, but sales fell short of forecasts. Lockheed added 92 cents, or 1%, to $89.11.
said it had third-quarter net income of $302 million, or 86 cents a share, up slightly from the year-ago quarter. However, Northrop said its full-year earnings and revenue would be below the Thomson First Call targets. The stock fell $1.13, or 1.6%, to close at $68.04.
posted fiscal first-quarter earnings of $125.6 million, or 34 cents a share, rising 34% from last year. Sales rose to $553.9 million from $449 million. Both were ahead of expectations. Coach finished 7.9% higher after the company issued guidance above analysts' forecasts.
After the previous session's closing bell,
said it had third-quarter earnings of $702 million, or 46 cents a share, up 11% from the same quarter a year ago. While earnings beat the Thomson First Call consensus by a penny, sales came in just short of the $3.8 billion target. Shares of TI dropped $1.36, or 4.3%, to $30.52.
also reported late, saying it earned $748 million, or 45 cents a share, in the third quarter. Results were up 11% from a year ago and matched the Thomson First Call consensus. Quarterly revenue rose to $8.24 billion, just shy of expectations. Kraft lost 94 cents, or 2.6%, to $35.36.
, which is expected to announce the complete spinoff of Kraft, will report earnings results later Tuesday.
will post results after the close.
Crude prices reversed early losses and headed higher. Oil rose 54 cents to close at $59.35 a barrel. Meanwhile, gold futures added $4.70 to close at $587.60 an ounce, and silver rose 18 cents to $11.85 an ounce.
The 10-year Treasury rose 2/32 to yield 4.82%, while the dollar held steady against the euro and the yen.
Overseas, European and Asian equities were mixed.