Wall Street Holds Steady - TheStreet

Wall Street Holds Steady

Stocks are little changed again. Oil prices rise. Treasuries are higher.
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Updated from 4:05 p.m. EST

U.S. stocks were stuck near the flat line for another session Tuesday as investors failed to find any catalysts to drive the action.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

was up 4.57 points, or 0.04%, at 12,666.31, and the

S&P 500

rose 1.01 points, or 0.07%, to 1448. The

Nasdaq Composite

added 0.89 point, or 0.04%, to 2471.49.

The market also struggled for traction on Monday, and the Dow tacked on just 8.25 points, or 0.07%, to 12,661.74, while the Nasdaq slipped 5.28 points, or 0.21%, at 2470.60.

"The overriding question for investors is whether this is a consolidation before further gains or a topping process that may lead to a long overdue period of profit-taking," said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist with Spencer Clarke LLC.

On the Dow,

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

was the best performer, rising 2.2%. However, that gain was offset by

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

, which fell by 1.9%.

Meanwhile,

Akamai Technologies

(AKAM) - Get Report

was one of the worst performers on the Nasdaq, falling 5.2%. On the other hand,

Nvidia

(NVDA) - Get Report

rose 3.6%.

Roughly 2.11 billion shares changed hands on the

New York Stock Exchange

. Advancers beat decliners by a 5-to-3 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq topped 2.14 billion shares, with winners outpacing losers 8 to 7.

As the economic calendar is light this week, investors were hoping to find more clues about the health of the economy in several speeches from

Federal Reserve

officials. All three speakers Tuesday, Chairman Ben Bernanke, San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen, and Chicago Fed President Michael Moskow, provided no comments about the economy or interest rate policy.

Treasury prices were gaining ground after Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said that the U.S. economy is slowing to a more sustainable rate of growth. He made his comments during a speech to the House Ways and Means Committee.

The 10-year note was up 11/32 and yielding 4.76%. The 30-year bond rose 18/32 in price to yield 4.86%. The dollar strengthened against both the euro and the yen.

Commodities prices were mostly higher as a cold snap continued in the Northeast. Crude oil futures were up 14 cents to close at $58.88 a barrel, while natural gas slipped 2 cents to $7.61 per million British thermal units. Gold rose by $2.60 to $658.70 an ounce, and silver tacked on 11 cents to $13.67 an ounce.

Even though the busiest days of earnings season have passed, a few key names continue to stream in. One was

Tyco

(TYC)

, who topped analysts' first-quarter profit expectations and guided in line for the second quarter. Revenue for the quarter rose to $10.33 billion from $9.6 billion a year earlier and exceeded estimates. Tyco lost 62 cents, or 1.9%, to close at $32.59.

Following the prior close,

National Semiconductor

(NSM)

cut its fiscal third-quarter sales guidance, saying revenue will drop 14% to 15% from $501.6 million in the second quarter. The chipmaker had previously forecast a decline of 8% to 11%. The stock shed 64 cents, or 2.7%, to $22.68.

At

BP

(BP) - Get Report

, lower energy prices and a drop-off in production led to a 22% decline in fourth-quarter earnings to $2.9 billion. BP slid 54 cents, or 0.9%, to $63.25.

After the close,

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

reported better-than-expected profits.

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

made headlines again after the world's largest retailer said it is launching a beta version of its own video download service.

On Monday, the stock rose nearly 1% after Wal-Mart said that January same-store sales rose 2.2%, higher than the retailer's prior forecast of a 1% to 2% gain. Wal-Mart added 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $48.58.

Overseas, London's FTSE rose 0.5% at 6346, and Frankfurt's Xetra DAX tacked on 0.1% at 6876. Tokyo's Nikkei climbed 0.4% overnight to 17,406, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1% to 20,655.