Updated from 1:07 p.m. EDT

Monday's Out of the Way

( At 5:05 p.m. EDT)

Not terrible. The Dow Jones Industrial Average did decline for the first time in a week Monday, falling 41.74 points, or 0.5%, to 7975.85, but that was well above its session low at 7862 thanks to a late recovery. At the end of the day, 11 stocks had risen and 19 retreated.

Citigroup ( C) was the laggard on a percentage basis, falling 4.6% to $2.72. JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) followed with a 3.7% loss to $28.20.

Early on it was looking considerably worse, especially in light of Mike Mayo's comments on the banks. However, the selling pressure that had been foreseen only slightly dented the Dow when all was said and done.

So now the first day of a short week is behind us, and it's on to another one. We've come to accept that Alcoa ( AA) marks the start of the corporate reporting season, even though somebody somewhere is detailing their numbers practically every day business is conducted. At any rate, some times of the year are unquestionably much busier than others, and we're approaching one such period.

The aluminum producer, always the first Dow component to release its numbers, will do so again after the close Tuesday. Analysts are expecting a loss of 58 cents. Regardless of what happens, let's resist the urge to extrapolate.

In closing, I just want to note that against any other opponent I would be pulling for Michigan State tonight. The Spartans are a great story, and they have provided hope for a state that has seen better days. Unfortunately, tonight I need them to lose. Go Heels.

Wish You the Best

( At 12:50 p.m. EDT)

Suppose your car's having a few problems. In order to fix it, a mechanic says he's going to take out the broken parts and give them to you, and if you can find some use for them, great.

The good news, you learn, is that the rest of the car can still run without these parts gone bad. Unfortunately for you, your best friend's getting what works. What would you think about that? Exactly.

That's kind of what I thought when I saw this news that Citigroup ( C) has removed the interim tag and named Mike Corbat permanent CEO of Citi Holdings, the company's "bad bank."

As my colleague Laurie Kulikowski notes, that's the part that has the brokerage and asset management business, consumer finance and a special asset pool. As suggested by the name, bad.

Maybe I'm just not that interested in a challenge, at least not one of this magnitude, but given the choice here I'd rather be running the good bank. Now I'm all for people fixing things. I'm even more for them not being broken in the first place. I just don't know how fixable these bad parts are. Seems like a superhuman task to turn them around or figure out their remaining utility. So good luck, Mr. Corbat.

Was this a car analogy a bad idea given what's going on at GM ( GM)?

Speaking of GM ... . The company remains one of just three stocks on the Dow that's trading up, and of those it's the best one on a percentage basis. Recently, it was up 6.2% at $2.23.

The index on the whole is getting a little worse at midsession, falling 142 points to 7875. Alcoa ( AA), lower by 6.3%, and Caterpillar ( CAT), down 5.4%, had the most pronounced declines.

Buyers on a Break

( At 10:40 a.m. EDT)

I know. I can't believe the weekend's over already either, but think about this Monday haters -- it's a four-day work week, and we've got a three-day weekend in our future.

As for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, it was sluggish early. About an hour into the session, just three of the 30 components were posting gains. However, the industrials overall were down just 110 points at 7907.

Could have been worse, and maybe it will be by the time the closing bell rings. For now though, not bad, especially considering that a number of headlines were weighing on the average. And don't forget we're coming off of four straight up weeks.

Banks were falling after a dour research report from influential analyst Mike Mayo, who gave Citigroup ( C), Bank of America ( BAC) and JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) underperform ratings.

Those weren't the only financial firms for whom he had negative commentary, but they're the only ones in the Dow so that's why they're mentioned here. While not surprisingly each was being sold, the damage was limited to losses of about 2% in all three stocks.

Elsewhere on the index, IBM ( IBM) was off 1.1% to $101.06 following word that its pursuit of Sun Microsystems ( JAVA) might already be over, and Disney ( DIS) slipped 2% to $19.61 after Oppenheimer lowered its price target on the stock.

American Express ( AXP) had its numbers cut at Barclays and Jefferies, and its shares were losing 3.7%.

One of the few winners was GM ( GM), up 5.2% at $2.21. By this point, we're all well aware of the bankruptcy speculation. What we don't know, of course, is if that's ultimately going to be the carmaker's best or only option to restructure. According to new CEO Fritz Henderson, it might be, but the company's not there yet.

Aside from GM, the only stocks in the green were Merck ( MRK) and Pfizer ( PFE), up 1.7% and 0.7%, respectively.

TheStreet.com Ratings, recently cited for Best Stock Selection from October 2007 through February 2009 , is an independent research provider that combines fundamental and technical analysis to offer investors tremendous value in volatile times. To see how your portfolio can use this research, click here now!

If you liked this article you might like

Five-Day Winning Streak in Stocks Expected to Continue

Five-Day Winning Streak in Stocks Expected to Continue

Bitcoin Today: Prices Burst Through $10,000 as Traders Mitigate Stark Warnings

Bitcoin Today: Prices Burst Through $10,000 as Traders Mitigate Stark Warnings

Apple Stock Is Being Bought by Warren Buffett; Should You Buy It?

Apple Stock Is Being Bought by Warren Buffett; Should You Buy It?

Apple Could Get to Zero Net Cash This Way, Says UBS

Apple Could Get to Zero Net Cash This Way, Says UBS

Why You Cannot Rule Out a Much Deeper Stock Market Correction

Why You Cannot Rule Out a Much Deeper Stock Market Correction