Stocks Mixed; Dow Closes Above 14,000

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock averages traded mixed Tuesday as Apple ( AAPL) shares tumbled after CEO Tim Cook spoke at a technology conference and investors awaited President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Apple fell 2.5% after Cook, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, dismissed hedge fund manager David Einhorn's lawsuit against the tech giant as a "silly sideshow."

Apple's plans for its $137 billion cash hoard came under attack last week by Einhorn, who's been asking shareholders to fight against the company.

In addressing questions about the company's product features, Cook said the only thing Apple will never do is make a "crappy" product.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 47 points, or 0.3%, to 14,019. The blue-chip index reclaimed its position above 14,000 for the first time since Feb. 1.

Breadth was positive, with winners outnumbering losers 23 to seven. Top advancers included Bank of America ( BAC), Home Depot ( HD), Alcoa ( AA) and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ).

The biggest percentage blue-chip laggards were Coca-Cola ( KO), Cisco ( CSCO) and Pfizer ( PFE).

Coca-Cola posted fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, topping estimates by a penny. Revenue came in light at $11.46 billion, below the average analyst estimate of $11.54 billion. Volumes fell in Europe, reflecting the ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty and weak consumer confidence across the region. Shares fell 2.7%.

The S&P 500 was up 2 points, or 0.2%, to 1,519. The Nasdaq was down 6 points, or 0.2%, to 3,186 as Apple shares skidded.

Most sectors in the broader market were in the green, led by capital goods, financials, conglomerates and consumer cyclical shares. Only the technology sector closed in the red.

Volumes totaled 3.38 billion shares on the New York Stock Exchange and 1.78 billion shares on the Nasdaq. Advancers outpaced decliners by a ratio of 1.8-to-1 on the Big Board and 1.6-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

Obama's speech Tuesday night is expected to partly focus on the need for budget reform, as the sequestered spending cuts totaling about $85 billion are scheduled to take effect in just two weeks. There's "little apparent opportunity for compromise before then," according to David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise.

"Should the scheduled cuts take effect, we do not think they will represent a 'game changer' for the U.S. economy, but they will act as a drag and will raise the risk that growth in 2013 will disappoint," said Russ Koesterich, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock, in a note. "As we get closer to the March 1 sequester deadline, we do expect to see higher levels of financial market volatility as investor attention returns to the country's fiscal drama."

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that if the sequester does kick in as scheduled, the budget deficit will shrink this year to $845 billion, or 5.3% of gross domestic product, the smallest since 2008. At the same time, federal debt held by the public will reach 76% of GDP by the end of this fiscal year, the largest share since 1950.

Matthew Senicola, a registered representative at JHS Capital Advisors, said he's taking a cautious stance on the market at this point after six straight weeks of gains.

With only a handful of big companies posting earnings this week, he thinks the stage is being set for a bit of profit-taking.

He said given that cheap stocks are starting to become more and more difficult to find, "a small pullback would actually be healthy for the exchanges."

"I am also a little unsettled at the lack of progress with the federal budget and the market could easily get swept away by headline risk once again," said Senicola. "Now may be a great time to consider trimming down some positions, buying some put options for insurance or selling some calls to take in premiums."

Most Asian markets were closed Tuesday for the Lunar New Year holiday.

European markets received some support as the G-7 industrially advanced economies pledged against currency wars.

The FTSE in London closed ahead by 0.9% on Tuesday as financial stocks advanced after U.K. bank Barclays ( BCS) said Tuesday it would cut at least 3,700 jobs in a major restructuring following a series of scandals. Barclays ADRs were popping more than 8%.

The DAX in Frankfurt finished up 0.3%.

The Nikkei in Japan finished ahead by 1.94% amid comments from Economic Minister Akira Amari about yen-weakening measures.

Gold for April delivery settled up 50 cents at $1,649.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while March crude oil futures closed up 48 cents at $97.51 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was off 3/32 to boost the yield to 1.979%. The dollar was down 0.40%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

In corporate news Tuesday, Netflix ( NFLX) was little changed as the company and DreamWorks Animation ( DWA) said they will create the first-ever Netflix original series for kids. DreamWorks shares rose 2.9%.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber ( GT) shares inched down by 0.36% after the company reduced its full-year outlook on segment operating income to $1.4 billion-$1.5 billion from $1.6 billion.

Film studio Lions Gate Entertainment ( LGF) swung to a profit in its fiscal third quarter as revenue soared on the back of the success of the "Twilight" series finale. Shares dipped 0.6% after rising earlier in the day.

Rexnord ( RXN) said Monday it initiated a review of strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the maker of ball bearings and plumbing products. Shares popped 3.9%.

Michael Kors ( KORS) shares surged 8.8% after the women's apparel company said quarterly results beat estimates amid a substantial increase in same-store sales and the addition of new stores.

HCA ( HCA) shares fell 0.6% after the hospital operator said that certain stockholders, consisting principally of affiliates of, or funds sponsored by, Bain Capital Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, plan to offer for sale in a secondary offering about 50 million common shares.

Avon ( AVP) shares surged 20.3% after the beauty products company booked better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings.

StemCells ( STEM) shares soared 21% after the company's spinal cord injury treatment garnered positive results during a clinical trial.

-- 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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