Updated from 4:08 p.m. EST

Blue-chip stocks recovered early losses and salvaged a small gain, while the Nasdaq led the way down after disappointing earnings forecasts made investors apprehensive about the market's recent gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 12.44 points, or 0.12%, to 10,570.81; the S&P 500 shed 2.40 points, or 0.21%, to 1148.17; and the Nasdaq was down 19.22 points, or 0.92%%, to 2059.90. Semiconductors weighed heavily on the session, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index losing over 2%.

The Dow gained traction in the midafternoon, shortly after St. Louis Fed President William Poole told an audience at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock that the Federal Open Market Committee's "commitment to price stability is not in doubt."

Alcoa ( AA) led the index ahead of its first-quarter earnings announcement. Its shares closed up 61 cents, or 1.7%, to $36.50. After the bell, the aluminum maker said it earned income from continuing operations of $350 million, or 40 cents a share, a penny below analysts' expectations.

But a discouraging premarket forecast from Nokia ( NOK) set the tone for the day. Its stock plunged 18.9% after the cell-phone maker cut its first-quarter sales guidance on Tuesday, saying earnings would be at the low end of expectations. Shares lost $3.94 to $17.21.

Nokia's warning took a toll on its suppliers. Texas Instruments ( TXN) lost $1.86, or 6%, to $29.08, and STMicroelectronics ( STM) was down $1.12, or 4.5%, to $23.63.

"The Nokia news was bad for tech and telecom, which brought down the Nasdaq," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies. "Today was just sort of the whiff for the week, but we've got some big earnings news coming out this week, and I think we'll be able to put it behind us."

Matt Kelmon, president and portfolio manager at Kelmoore Strategy Funds, was unfazed by the news. He said a lack of first-quarter earnings preannouncements tells him that most reports will be as good as last quarter or better than expected.

"I think earnings are going to be excellent this month for the most part," Kelmon said. "The market has found a new range. We saw a low end of the range at the end of March, and we'll probably see the high point sometime in April, which I think might be the best month of the year for stocks."

"I'm watching equity flows," he added. "We saw a pause in February and the market pulled back subsequently. Now, I think April will bring a huge rush of money flow into equity funds and that will push the markets higher."

On Monday, the Dow closed above the 10,500-level for the first time since March 8, three days before terrorist bombings in Spain brought geopolitical fears back to the fore and sent the stock market to its 2004 lows. The new plateau could be a resistance level for blue-chips, as traders place their bets on earnings and try to gauge whether the long-awaited correction has its low in place. The index is still more than 1.5% below its highest close of the year of 10,737.70 on Feb. 11.