(At 3:10 p.m. EDT)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Dow has pared its losses but still remains lower with the closing bell only 50 minutes away. However, the Dow's current loss of 32 points looks a whole lot better than the 101-point loss the index sported earlier.

What's really important is that the Dow did not fall through the psychologically important 9000 level, although it certainly came close. American Express ( AXP) continues to be a big laggard, along with Pfizer ( PFE) and Exxon Mobil ( XOM).

On the bright side, Boeing ( BA) and Bank of America ( BAC) have helped the Dow regain some of its early losses. Both stocks were lately higher by more than 2%. While General Electric ( GE) gave back some of its gains, it was still higher by 1%.

Speedway

Today's performance isn't surprising given that consumer confidence fell more than expected this month, making for two consecutive monthly declines. But really, the major U.S. averages definitely needed a breather. The Dow had jumped 11.6% over the last two weeks, the best performance since March 2000, and the index even eked out a gain Monday after trading lower most of the day.

The Dow could still come back, of course, but this action today definitely makes sense.

(At 10:30 a.m. EDT)

Tuesday's trading session, at least so far, looks quite a bit like Monday's. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is trading lower, but only by 35 points, leaving the index fairly close to its best levels of 2009.

The difference today is that there is an absence of earnings from Dow components. But the Dow was still holding its own, despite a sharp decline in shares of American Express ( AXP). AmEx shares were cut to in line from outperform at Fox Pitt-Kelton, which the firm said was based on valuation. The stock was the biggest drag on the Dow, falling 78 cents, or 2.8%, to $27.60.

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