Updated from 2:09 p.m. EDT

At Last, Alcoa Reports

(At 5:45 p.m. EDT)

So it wasn't the best day, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended lower by 186.29 points, or 2.3%, at 7789.56, its second setback in a row.

The only component to rise was Citigroup ( C), up 4 cents, or 1.5%, at $2.76. Microsoft ( MSFT) closed unchanged.

What that means is the other 28 stocks dropped, with General Motors ( GM) showing the steepest decline, down 11.9% to $2.

Biotech Select

Because of the way the index is weighted, the biggest point drags were IBM ( IBM) and Caterpillar ( CAT), who accounted for about 37 points of the overall decline. With the consecutive pullbacks, the Dow had its gain for the month trimmed to 2.4% and its year-to-date loss extended to 11.2%.

The good news, though perhaps this is good news to no one other than me, is that Alcoa ( AA) has finally reported its quarterly results, so now we don't have to hear or write about the unofficial start of earnings until next quarter. It's here. At last.

Wasn't earnings though. Alcoa had a loss of 59 cents a share, missing estimates for a loss of 56 cents, and revenue tumbled. Neither of those were really surprises. The stock still fell 20 cents, or 2.6%, to $7.59 in the after-hours market. The shares had already shed 12 cents in regular trading to $7.79.

Let's not panic yet. The numbers are going to be bad in many sectors. Don't forget, they're backward-looking, and with any luck, we can only go up from here. Also remember this, the week's halfway done already.

Continuing to Decline

( At 1:55 p.m. EDT)

The selling has picked up as the day has progressed, and now only Citigroup ( C) is up among the Dow's 30 components. Talk about leadership.

Microsoft ( MSFT) is flat, and everything else is in the red.

General Motors ( GM) has continued to deteriorate, and recently it was down 13.7% at $1.96. What strange days these have been for GM. The stock closed all the way down at $1.45 on March 6, then rose to $3.62 on March 27. Since then it's been largely downhill, and now it's back under $2.

This might be a stretch, but all this bankruptcy talk could have a little something do with it.

As for the index overall, it was down 191 points, or 2.4%, at 7785 and on track for a second straight close in negative territory. To keep that from happening, it's going to take an awfully impressive rally in the next two hours. Hard to see that happening, though you never know.

Is Everybody Against This Market?

( At 11:05 a.m. EDT)

Investors George Soros and Marc Faber are out with cautious comments about the market's recent rally.

Corporate reporting season -- probably best not to call it earnings season right now -- is upon us.

A report out of London says the International Monetary Fund will estimate that the bad debts of banks and insurers could reach $4 trillion.

Not a lot to like there. Probably shouldn't be surprised that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has a triple-digit loss. Recently, the index was down 130 points at 7846. Earlier, it dropped to 7796, so it's actually improved a bit.

Only four stocks were up, and two of them were banks, Citigroup ( C) and Bank of America ( BAC).

Maybe the former was benefiting from Richard Parsons' spirited defense of bankers. That's a joke of course, but I think I will give him at least a little credit for having the, let's call it courage, to stand up for what is probably the most easily attacked and difficult to defend group of people on the planet at the moment.

Coca-Cola ( KO) and Microsoft ( MSFT) were the only other stocks edging ahead, the latter helped by an RBC upgrade. American Express ( AXP) got some positive comments from Citi analysts, and that was sparing the stock from the broader selloff, though it did tick down a couple of cents.

Meanwhile, General Motors ( GM) was the worst percentage decliner, falling 6.6% to $2.12, no doubt because of the continuing bankruptcy speculation, though this Segway news is also disturbing in its own way. Caterpillar ( CAT) was next with a 4% loss to $30.06.

Alcoa ( AA), ahead of its highly anticipated numbers that are due after the close, was losing 3.4% at $7.64. It's supposed to report another quarterly loss.

Does any of this matter until the last hour of trading, anyway?

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