Stocks Hold Ground Ahead of Fed

Oil remains above $68 as OPEC ministers meet in Vienna.
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Stocks were narrowly mixed early Tuesday as Alan Greenspan's swan song at the

Federal Reserve

loomed.

Index futures recently showed the

S&P 500

trading 2 points below fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 2-point gain. The 10-year Treasury bond was down 1/32 in price to yield 4.53%, while the dollar rose against the euro and fell against the yen.

In Greenspan's last meeting as chairman, the

Federal Open Market Committee

is expected to announce its 14th straight quarter-point rate hike after 2 p.m. EST. The accompanying policy statement will set the stage for incoming chairman Ben Bernanke and is expected to mark a further winnowing of previously hawkish rhetoric.

Oil was lower, although it held above $68 as OPEC ministers met in Vienna to discuss production rates. Meanwhile, all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are now calling for a hearing to discuss Iran's recently restarted nuclear program. March crude was recently down 17 cents to $68.18 a barrel.

The other major event hanging over trading Tuesday is the president's state of the union address, scheduled for tonight. President Bush is expected to push for broader tax deductions for healthcare expenses and expanded use of health savings accounts in high-deductible insurance policies.

Overseas markets were flat to lower, with London's FTSE 100 recently unchanged at 5777 and Germany's Xetra DAX losing 0.1% to 5655. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.6% overnight to 16,650, while Hong Kong's market remained closed for a holiday.

U.S. stocks posted negligible moves Monday as traders got ready for the Fed. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

lost 7 points to 10,900, while the S&P 500 rose a point to 1285 and the

Nasdaq Composite

added 3 points to 2307.

Tuesday is another huge earnings day, with results from

Altria

(MO) - Get Report

,

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

,

Valero

(VLO) - Get Report

and

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

expected.

To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action, click here

.

In early earnings,

Knight-Ridder

(KRI)

said fourth-quarter earnings fell 22% from a year ago to $83.3 million, or $1.24 a share. The results were 2 cents ahead of estimates.

Late Monday,

Goodyear

(GT) - Get Report

said a rise in raw-material costs will eat into fourth-quarter earnings. Goodyear pegged fourth-quarter operating income at about $238 million, unchanged from a year ago.