Updated from 4:12 p.m. EST
After an up-and-down day, stocks in New York meandered to a mixed close, as more disturbing corporate news arrived, but the economic stimulus and next-step bank bailout did not.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
ended down 9.72 points, or 0.1%, at 8270.87, but the
added 1.29 points, or 0.1%, to 869.89. The
edged down 0.15 points, or 0.01%, to 1591.56.
Bank of America
were the best performers on the Dow, rising 12.4% and 13.9%, respectively. Banks in general were higher, with the KBW banking index rising 2.2%, following a strong showing at the end of last week, which was thought to be in anticipation of the coming bank bailout plan.
"While individual company earnings reports are important for specific stocks, the overall market will likely be driven in the short-run by news flows around the financial rescue and fiscal stimulus plans," wrote Bill Stone, chief investment strategist for PNC Financial.
But right now that leaves the market in wait-and-see mode, says Doug Roberts, Chief Investment Strategist for ChannelCapitalResearch.com. "You don't want to take a position one way or the other, you just want to see what the bill looks like." Unless the stimulus package "changes radically," though, he expects it to generate little market enthusiasm.
Rather, it's the bank bailout plan that he sees having a possible effect. Again, though, "we have to see what it looks like," he says. "Just recognizing that there's a degree of insolvency in the banks, that these toxic assets may be quite large, and not assuming a halfway measure could have an impact," says Roberts.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was scheduled to present his overhaul of said financial rescue plan today, but has been delayed until Tuesday. Two concepts, among others, that could be dealt with are a so-called "bad bank" to buy up toxic assets from struggling financial institutions and the potential suspension of the mark-to-market rule.
Chief Investment Officer at Soliel Securities Group, Vince Farrell, writes on RealMoney that he thinks the bad bank will be far smaller than first envisioned, with purchases limited to those assets already marked down significantly.
Farrell calls the employment of mark-to-market accounting "a tremendous error," opining that even a temporary halt would be helpful in halting the erosion of bank assets. "Valuing assets at the last, often panicked, sales price is no way to run a business," he writes.
On a larger scale, the Senate is now expected to pass an $827 billion stimulus bill, which has been hindered by partisan disagreements, on Tuesday.
While further government intervention may have been delayed, more news of layoffs and dour earnings wasn't held up.
-- down 3.7% to $5.98 -- posted a quarterly loss and
said it will cut 20,000 jobs, or 8.5% of its global work force, over the next year, morphing to handle the economic downturn.
, in a story first reported by
, said it will cut up to 5,000 jobs, a cost-cutting effort to try to meet a March 31 deadline that will determine if the automaker can keep $13.4 billion in government aid. In addition, today it was reported that the automaker may
seek to take back ownership of parts supplier Delphi, which it spun off years ago, in order to qualify for more government loans. Its shares retracted 0.4% to $2.83.
narrowed its loss to $2.08, but it was still worse than predicted.
also missed expectations, with a 20% decline in quarterly profit.
Nonetheless, Beazer rose 19 cents, or 19%, to $1.19; NYSE Euronext, however, shed 5.2% to $21.71.
One bright spot was
, which reported a 7.1% global gain in same-store sales. Shares of the hamburger maker rose almost 1% to $59.02.
Taking a look at commodities, crude oil fell 61 cents to settle at $39.56, while gold gave up $22.50 to settle at $892.80.
Longer-dated Treasuries were mixed; the 10-year note was giving up 4/32 to yield 3.1%, the 30-year was rising 11/32, yielding 3.8%.
The dollar was weaker against the pound, euro and yen.
Stocks overseas were mixed. In Europe, the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt had modest gains. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed lower, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended its session higher.