Financials power stocks' late rally ahead of big earnings day

A late-day rally led by financials pushed stocks higher just before the closing bell, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped back to close down 26 points, or 0.3 percent, at 8,058. The broader S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both finished slighly higher for the day.

Energy stocks were among the day's losers, as oil prices dipped below $50 as the International Energy Agency cut its outlook on demand amid the slumping economy. Exxon Mobil (XOM) was one of the Dow's biggest decliners, falling 2.6 percent.