Dow Closes Lower; Nasdaq, S&P 500 Edge Up

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks booked another mixed finish on Tuesday as investors awaited clarity on the timeline for a potential request for bailout funds from Spain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 33 points, or 0.24%, to close at 13,482. The blue-chip index is now up 10.35% so far in 2012.

Breadth was negative with decliners ahead of advancers, 19 to 11. The biggest percentage decliners were American Express ( AXP), du Pont ( DD), McDonald's ( MCD), and Procter & Gamble ( PG).

JPMorgan ( JPM) shares were down a nickel following news that New York has filed a civil complaint against the bank alleging fraud in relation to the sale of toxic residential mortgage-backed securities during the financial crisis.

Shares of Boeing ( BA) fell 0.69% after the company's engineers and technical workers' union rejected a contract offer late Monday. The union represents 23,000 workers. Talks on an agreement are expected to resume Tuesday.

Dow gainers included Chevron ( CVX), UnitedHealth Group ( UNH), and Microsoft ( MSFT).

The S&P 500 added a little more than a point, or 0.09%, to settle at 1446, while the Nasdaq rose nearly 7 points, or 0.21%, to finish at 3120, getting a boost from a turnaround in Apple ( AAPL), which closed up after being down for most of the session.

The strongest sectors in the broad market were health care, utilities and consumer non-cyclicals. Only the basic materials sector finished in the red.

Volume totaled 3.28 billion on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.61 billion on the Nasdaq. Losers were narrowly ahead of winners on both exchanges.

There is still a fair amount of uncertainty to deal with across the pond as most of Tuesday's headlines were looking ahead to future scenarios. Reuters reported Spain could make a formal request for bailout funds for its public finances as early as next weekend, citing anonymous senior European sources, but Germany has signaled that it believes Spain should hold off as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble emphasized that the country is taking all the right steps to overcome its fiscal problems and doesn't need a bailout.

There was also evidence of growing caution on Wall Street about third-quarter earnings season, which will pick up steam later this month. Analysts are expecting a year-over-year decline in earnings for the components of the S&P 500.

"The primary focus, in our opinion, will be on whether Q3 results will indeed be the trough in this earnings cycle and if forward quarters will exhibit a gradual acceleration in growth," said Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ. "The bar has been set so low for third-quarter S&P 500 earnings per share growth that some would say it is 'underground.'"

The FTSE 100 in London closed down 0.19% and the DAX in Germany finished down 0.28% on Tuesday. The Nikkei Average in Japan closed down 0.12% amid concerns over the outlook for corporate earnings. Hong Kong's market was closed for a public holiday.

November crude oil futures fell 59 cents to settle at $91.89 a barrel. December gold futures closed down $7.70 at $1,775.60 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury rose 1/32, diluting the yield to 1.626%. The greenback lost 0.09%, according to the dollar index.

In corporate news, Mosaic ( MOS) shares tumbled 3.9% after the fertilizer company reported a fiscal first-quarter net income that declined 18%, with results coming in below expectations, weighed down by production issues that hurt sales volumes and weaker prices for its phosphate fertilizer.

Automaker Ford ( F) said its September U.S. sales fell 0.1%; analysts were expecting an increase of 0.7%. Shares skidded 1.4%.

General Motors ( GM) reported that its September U.S. sales rose 1.5%, a bit below the 1.9% increase expected by analysts.

On the same day, in an appearance at the Value Investing Congress, Greenlight Capital's head honcho David Einhorn discussed the benefits of a long investment thesis on GM, which he believes could earn as much as $6 per share in 2014. GM shares finished up 2.6%.

ArQule ( ARQL) shares plummeted 56.3% after the cancer therapeutics company announced that it will stop its clinical trials on a lung-cancer drug after it was deemed to be ineffective in meeting targets on improving patient survival.

PetSmart ( PETM), the pet products retailer, was named to join the S&P 500, replacing Sunoco ( SUN), which is being acquired by Energy Transfer Partners ( ETP). PetSmart shares rose 1.5%.

--Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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