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Updated from 11:43 a.m. EDT

Up Is Better Than Down

(

At 5:15 p.m. EDT

)

Wasn't exactly a big win, but it was a win nonetheless. The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

ended a fairly quiet session Tuesday up 50.34 points, or 0.6%, at 8469.11.

The index was down for a good part of the day before it made its way higher in the afternoon.

Of the 30 stocks on the DJIA, 16 rose and 14 pulled back.

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report

was the top percentage gainer, up 5.5% to $14.93, while fellow drugmaker

Merck

(MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. Report

added 2.4% to $24.98.

Coca-Cola

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TheStreet Recommends

(KO) - Get Coca-Cola Company Report

had the second-best increase, advancing 3.9% to $44.40.

All the financials fell, led by losses of more than 5% in

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report

and

Citigroup

(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

, though

GM

(GM) - Get General Motors Company Report

, down 20% to $1.15, had the steepest decline.

Image placeholder title

Hideous. According to various reports, the carmaker hasn't seen these levels since the early 1930s.

Intel

(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report

slipped 1% to $15.21 during regular trading, but after the close CEO Paul Otellini offered encouraging remarks about the level of business activity in the second quarter, and that lifted the shares 3.4% to $15.72.

Could Go Either Way

(

At 11:10 a.m. EDT

)

So far, so flat. The

Dow

started the session higher, and it looked like some of Monday's losses were well on the way to being recovered.

Not so fast. Within minutes of the opening bell, the index pulled back, and recently it was hanging around the flat line. It's been there for some time. Still a long way to go, though.

Most of the 30 components, including the banks, were lower at midmorning, with losers up 19 to 11.

American Express

(AXP) - Get American Express Company Report

,

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report

and

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. Report

were dropping more than 3% each, while

Citigroup

(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

was off 1%.

BofA made news on reports it's selling shares in

China Construction Bank

to raise $7.3 billion. The Charlotte-based bank, you might remember, was told after the stress tests were completed that it needed to come up with nearly $34 billion.

AmEx, meanwhile, got an underperform rating as RBC initiated coverage of the stock, and that was weighing on its shares.

The worst of the industrials, on a percentage basis, was

GM

(GM) - Get General Motors Company Report

, slumping 22% to $1.12. On Monday, CEO Fritz Henderson said bankruptcy was still probable, and now we hear that executives have

sold some 205,000 shares

in recent days.

Seriously ugly situation for this stock. Just how bad is that price? Apparently,

1933 bad

.

Things were better for

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

. It was up 1.7% to $19.65 after the company said it would sell $3.75 billion in debt. Proceeds will go for general corporate purposes, which could include working capital, capital expenditures, stock buybacks or acquisitions.

As you might expect, the last one seemed to interest people most.

Microsoft already has well above $20 billion in cash, so this sale will give the Windows maker even more ability to make a move, should it choose to. Also not surprisingly, CEO Steve Ballmer didn't much seem interested in

discussing speculation

, particularly that his company might be looking at

SAP

(SAP) - Get SAP SE Report

.

For now, I'll wrap it up by encouraging you to check out what TSC Ratings

has to say about

whether

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get HP Inc. Report

is better than

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report

.