NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks were a mixed bag Tuesday, with the Dow ending lower after a handful of uninspiring earnings reports while the Nasdaq closed near a record high following a proposed biotech merger.
Travelers, DuPont and IBM shares weighed on the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI). DuPont reported lower sales in all of its businesses and said a strong dollar would take a toll on its full-year earnings. IBM also mentioned currency effects when it reported a fall in revenue late Monday.
DuPont (DD) ended the session 2.95 percent lower at $70.69 and IBM (IBM) fell 1.14 percent to $164.26.
March-quarter earnings season is in full swing, with almost 73 percent of the S&P 500 components that have reported so far beating bottom-line expectations, but just 42.2 percent beating expectations for revenue.
Investors struggled to gauge how much a strong dollar has hurt U.S. multinationals, including technology companies such as Facebook (FB), Google (GOOGL), Qualcomm (QCOM), Microsoft (MSFT) that sell many of their products and services overseas and are expected to report their earnings this week.
"There's a lot of cross-current in the earnings picture. Are we at peak margins? Are we likely to hold, or might there be some downside?" said Mark Foster, chief investment officer at Kirr Marbach & Co. in Columbus, Indiana. "People are pretty zeroed in on that."
The dollar has gained almost 9 percent since the beginning of the year against a basket of major currencies, hurting companies with large overseas operations.
Travelers (TRV) reported a drop in quarterly net profit and its shares ended down 4.01 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 85.34 points, or 0.47 percent, to end at 17,949.59. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) lost 3.11 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,097.29 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 19.50 points, or 0.39 percent, to 5,014.10.
The Nasdaq ended the day less than 35 points away from its March 2000 all-time closing high.
Mylan (MYL) shares rose 8.85 percent to end at $74.07 after Israeli drugmaker Teva made an unsolicited offer of $82 a share, in what could be the drug industry's largest takeover this year. Teva (TEVA) rose 1.37 percent. The Nasdaq Biotech index ended up 1.87 percent.
Deals and Earnings
After the bell, Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Yahoo (YHOO) posted their quarterly results and their shares fell 4.5 percent and 1.19 percent, respectively.
First-quarter earnings of S&P 500 companies are expected to dip 2.2 percent, while revenues are seen declining 3.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data which includes companies that already reported.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,521 to 1,512, for a 1.01-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,381 issues fell and 1,346 advanced, for a 1.03-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 12 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq composite, recorded 95 new highs and 27 new lows.
About 5.8 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.2 billion daily average for the month to date, according to BATS Global Markets.
-With additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal.
What to watch Wednesday:
The National Association of Realtors releases existing home sales for March at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
These selected companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial results:
8 Fun, Inexpensive Group Activities for You and Your Friends
Market Wrap: Dow Slips on Earnings; Nasdaq Gains on Biotech
Not only is dodgeball a great throwback to your childhood, it's an excellent way to get outdoors and exercise while having a ton of fun.
You can host pickup games of dodgeball at the park or in someone's backyard with as few or as many friends as you like. If you really want to get serious about it, you can form teams with friends, coworkers and other acquaintances and put on an official tournament. (You decide what prize the winning team gets, whether it's trophies or simply bragging rights.)
Ask everyone to bring their favorite movie from their childhood and enjoy a movie marathon down memory lane with classics like "The Goonies," "Clueless "and "Empire Records."
Or declare a theme of movies "so bad they're good." You know the type -- you groan at how awful they are, but you also have a ton of fun making snarky comments to your friends about how awful they are. Some suggestions to start you out: "Sharknado," "The Room" and "Miami Connection."
Stop oohing and aahing over all those awesome crafts on Pinterest and make some yourselves. Find a craft on Pinterest everyone can enjoy, or just buy a whole bunch of random art supplies and see who can make the most Pin-worthy creation from them. Create your own board to display your works of art-the good, the bad and the ugly.
Call up your local theaters and ask if they have any openings for volunteer ushers. This is not only an easy gig, it's also a great way to see a play or musical for free, while supporting the arts community and potentially making new friends.
All you have to do is dress nicely, guide people to their seats before the show, hand out brochures and direct the audience members to the restrooms if they ask you. Then you get to sit back and enjoy the show with everyone else cost-free, whether it's a quirky local play or a Broadway showstopper.
You don't have be particularly talented to participate in a flash mob; your mob could do anything from a choreographed dance routine to freezing in place in a crowded public area.
You can organize your own mob via Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms, or you can join one in the planning stages by Googling "flash mob" and the name of your town. Whether your flash mob winds up a YouTube sensation or an epic fail, you'll be sure to create some great memories you and your friends can talk about for years.
This game goes by many names. The classic comic strip "Calvin & Hobbes" dubbed it "Calvinball." On the hit show "New Girl," it's called "True American." The rules are simple: The only rules are the ones you make up, and the wackier, the better.
You likely played this as a child, coming up with rules on the fly like "the floor is hot lava" or "you can only throw the ball with your left hand, unless you throw it backwards." Now that you're grown up, step things up a notch by throwing in trivia, memory challenges and perhaps an affordable adult beverage or two.
Stop watching HGTV to voyeur into the houses of the rich and opulent. Instead, see these houses in real life!
There's no rule that says you need to be interested in buying a home to hit up its open house. Nobody will prequalify you; in fact, it's common for neighbors to stroll into open houses just to scope out the other homes on their block. Don your best "Real Housewives" outfits and tour the insides of some of those houses you always ogle as you drove past.
One critical rule for this activity: Do not take the real estate agent's time away from actual interested buyers. If the agent asks you any questions, be honest: just tell them you're simply looking and that you're not interested in buying. Don't be disruptive, don't be messy, and don't take up anyone else's time or energy. Otherwise, though, have fun!
Geocaching is a scavenger hunt for the digital age. "Caches," or small waterproof containers, are hidden in various locations throughout the world, and geocachers must track them down using GPS coordinates and sometimes clues. Most caches contain logbooks that let you record you've found them; some have small rewards or gifts you're allowed to take if you leave an item of your own behind.
It can be a fun way to play detective and explore parts of your area you haven't been to before. Check out Geocaching.com or Google "geocaching" plus your town's name to find caches near you.