Updated from 4:20 p.m. ESTStocks were sluggish for much of the session and closed narrowly mixed Tuesday, but for the Dow Jones Industrial Average it was another record finish. The Dow rose 26.51 points, or 0.21%, to 12,582.59, thanks to gains of 1.5% or more in components IBM ( IBM) and DuPont ( DD). The S&P 500 added 1.17 points, or 0.08%, to 1431.90, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 5.04 points, or 0.2%, to 2497.78. Volume was strong to start the abbreviated week, with 2.68 billion shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange. On the Nasdaq, nearly 2.22 billion shares traded. Losers edged winners. Wall Street is coming off a week in which the Dow gained 158 points, or 1.3%, and the S&P 500 added 21 points, or 1.5%. The Nasdaq jumped 69 points, or 2.8%. However, Paul Nolte, director of investments with Hinsdale Associates, said that many technical indicators "have deteriorated over the past couple of weeks as the major averages close at multiyear highs, indicating that forces pushing stocks higher are waning." One of the top stories of last week was the downtrend in crude oil prices, and that decline spilled over as the new week began. February futures shed $1.78 to finish at $51.21. Other energy contracts were mixed. "The decline in commodity prices has temporarily been halted as economic growth has shown some life," said Nolte. "However, whether the short-term rise is merely a correction in a larger declining pattern remains to be seen. The reaction of the markets to the normal winter conditions this week will be interesting to watch. Inventories still remain well above normal."
By sector, oil stocks were the big losers of the session. The Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index fell 0.9% and the Amex Oil Index slumped 1.5%. Transportation stocks were best performers, with the Dow Jones Transportation Average jumping 2.1% and the Nasdaq Transportation Index finishing higher by 1.1%. On the corporate side, another disappointment came from the homebuilding sector, where Centex ( CTX) said writeoffs would lead to a third-quarter loss. Excluding items, Centex said its adjusted earnings will still probably miss analysts' consensus forecast. The stock fell by $1.55, or 2.9%, to $51.61. A number of notable analyst actions captured investor attention, including a double downgrade of networking giant Cisco ( CSCO). Prudential cut its rating on the stock to neutral from overweight, and Banc of America lowered its rating to neutral from buy. Even so, BofA kept its $30 price target. Cisco lost 88 cents, or 3%, to $28.04. Elsewhere on the research front, Goldman Sachs resumed coverage of Motorola ( MOT) with a neutral rating, and JPMorgan upgraded Sirius ( SIRI) and XM ( XMSR) to overweight from neutral. Meanwhile, Banc of America downgraded XM to neutral from buy. Shares of XM finished 0.1% higher, while Sirius gained 1.2%. Among early reporters, Symantec ( SYMC) cut its third-quarter earnings outlook, citing a weaker-than-expected performance by its data-center management business and higher deferrals than anticipated. The company also offered a disappointing fourth-quarter forecast. Symantec dropped $2.69, or 13.1%, to $17.79.
Wells Fargo ( WFC) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.18 billion, or 64 cents a share, up 13% from the year-ago quarter. Revenue jumped 11% to $9.4 billion. The Thomson First Call average estimate was for earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $8.96 billion. Wells Fargo added 72 cents, or 2%, to $36.23. Elsewhere, TD Ameritrade ( AMTD) posted fiscal first-quarter earnings of $145.6 million, or 24 cents a share, surging 69% from last year. Revenue rose to $535.2 million from $277.3 million last year. Analysts were calling for earnings of 22 cents a share on revenue of $517 million. Shares were higher by 65 cents, or 3.8%, to finish at $18. Away from equities, the New York Federal Reserve said its Empire State Index unexpectedly fell to a reading of 9.13 in January from a revised 22.2 in December. The index now sits at its lowest level since May 2005. Economists had expected the January reading to slip to 20.0. "In short, a clear weakening, but it's far from clear that there is any predictive power here," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics. "The Empire State survey has been persistently stronger than most other regional surveys and the national ISM manufacturing index over the past year or so, but this report goes some way towards closing the gap."
Treasuries were rising. The 10-year note was up 5/32 in price and yielding 4.75%, and the 30-year bond was higher by 7/32 to yield 4.84%. The dollar was easing against the world's major currencies. Gold eased $1 to close at $625.90 an ounce. Silver lost 25 cents to $12.62 an ounce. Overnight in Asia, Japan's Nikkei sank 1.5% to 17,091, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.9% to 20,211. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 was down 0.8% to 6216. Germany's Xetra DAX dipped 0.2% to 6717.