Closing Bell: Stocks Make Small Gains After Mixed Earnings News

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U.S. stocks ended mostly higher Tuesday after wandering between gains and losses throughout the day, as companies reported mixed results for the latest quarter and the Federal Reserve began a two-day policy meeting.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) at first showed a closing reading of 15,525.04, representing a gain of 3.07 points or 0.02 percent, before slipping 1.38 points, or 0.01, to end at 15,520.59. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) tacked on just 0.63 of a point, or 0.4 percent, to finish at 1,685.96. Technology stocks fared better, as the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) advanced 17.3 points, or 0.48 percent, to 3,616.47.

Shares of Coach (COH) slumped $4.57, or 7.9 percent, to $53.28, after the upscale handbag maker reported a 12 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit as its home market of North America remained weak. Coach also said two more executives were leaving the company.

But Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT) jumped 8.8 percent to $18.54 after reporting its second-quarter earnings more than doubled. Sales in Latin America rose sharply.

Beyond earnings, traders were also keeping a close eye on the Federal Reserve. The central bank began a two-day meeting Tuesday and will release an updated policy statement Wednesday.

The Mosaic Co. (MOS), a maker of a key ingredient in crop fertilizers, plunged after a Russian fertilizer company said it would drop out of a cartel that kept prices high. Mosaic fell $9.16, or 17.29 percent, to $43.81. Intrepid Potash (IPI) shares also nosedived on the news, dropping 28.52 percent to $13.90, as did shares of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT), which fell 16.5 percent to $31.65, and Agrium (AGU), which lost 5.4 percent to $86.50.

More Stocks in the News:
  • Pfizer (PFE) rose more than 2 percent during morning trading after reporting that its income more than quadrupled, helped by the sale of its animal health business. But those gains were pared following news from the Justice Department later in the day that Pfizer agreed to pay $490.9 million to resolve accusations of illegal marketing of the immunosuppressant Rapamune. Shares ended the day up 21 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $29.75.
  • Rival drugmaker Merck (MRK) reported net earnings that edged past Wall Street expectations, but revenue was slightly less than analysts forecast. Sales of several key drugs fell as Merck too struggles with the expiration of patents. Shares fell 30 cents, or 0.62 percent, to $48.04.
  • Rockwell Automation (ROK) advanced 5.63 percent to $95.65 after the Milwaukee-based company posted a quarterly profit well above analyst forecasts, helped by sales increases in most of its geographic regions.
  • JetBlue Airways (JBLU) shares fell 2.48 percent to $6.49 after the airline reported that second-quarter earnings fell 31 percent, missing Wall Street estimates, as costs rose and its average airfare fell.
  • Masco (MAS) jumped $1.08, or 5.47 percent, to $20.82. The home-furnishings company posted earnings that beat the forecasts of financial analysts as it benefited from a surge in construction.
  • Time Warner Cable (TWC) fell 23 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $115.00. The cable giant is enmeshed in a nasty dispute with CBS (CBS) over programming fees and is threatening to pull the broadcaster, the nation's most popular among viewers of all ages, off its systems.
  • Shares of Nutrisystem (NTRI) rose 8.4 percent to 12.47 after the weight-loss company posted greater second-quarter net income and raised its estimates for the full year.
What to Watch Wednesday:
  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Commerce Department releases second-quarter gross domestic product and the Labor Department releases the second-quarter employment cost index.
  • Federal Reserve policymakers issue their latest economic policy statement at 2 p.m., following the conclusion of a two-day meeting on interest rates.
These companies are scheduled to report quarterly corporate earnings:
  • Boston Beer (SAM)
  • Burger King Worldwide (BKW)
  • CBS (CBS)
  • Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK)
  • Hyatt Hotels (H)
  • Marriott International (MAR)
  • Mastercard (MA)
  • Penske Auto Group (PAG)
  • Whole Foods Market (WFM)
-Compiled from staff and wire reports.

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Closing Bell: Stocks Make Small Gains After Mixed Earnings News
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