NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks were inching higher Tuesday afternoon as investors continued to digest news that Apple ( AAPL) chief Steve Jobs was taking his second medical leave.

Apple, which reports its fiscal first-quarter earnings after the bell, dipped as much as 4% early in the day, but was down only 2.22% to $340.86 in afternoon trading.

Shares of graphics chipmaker Nvidia ( NVDA) continued to fall, losing 2.72% to $22.94 after BMO Capital Markets cut its rating from outperform to market perform. Nvidia, which recently settled a patent dispute with rival Intel ( INTC), is trading more in line with competitors, said the firm.

The world's largest cell-phone maker, Nokia ( NOK), saw shares slide 2.87% Tuesday at $10.68 after reporting that it will discontinue free music downloads with its handsets in most markets. Also, Dow Jones reported that Nokia Siemens Networks, the joint venture between Nokia and the German industrial conglomerate, won't file for its IPO this year as the companies previously hinted.

On the other side of the flat line, Google ( GOOG) shares were up 2.30% at $638.54 as reports surfaced that Italy closed its antitrust investigation into the search giant. The investigation followed complaints from Italian news sites, who were worried that by requesting they be removed from Google News, their sites would also be omitted from Google's search results. According to The Associated Press, Google said it remained committed to leaving its main search results unchanged, regardless of a news organization's position with Google News.

Google, however, still faces lots of anti-competitive questions about its core search practices from a number of bodies, including the European Commission, Spain and Texas.

IBM ( IBM), which reports its fourth-quarter results after the bell Tuesday, saw its shares slowly rise throughout the day, up 0.73% to $151.10 in early afternoon trading. Big Blue, expected to report continued slow and steady growth, is expected to post earnings per share of $4.08 on quarterly revenue of $28.26 billion, said analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

TheStreet will be live-blogging Apple and IBM earnings starting at 3:45 ET.

--Written by Maggie Overfelt in New York.

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