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U.S. stocks retreat

November 11, 2009|Bloomberg News

Most stocks fell Tuesday as some earnings reports disappointed investors, but the Dow rose 20 points, its fifth straight daily gain.

Among the companies posting worse-than-expected results or adjusting their forecasts downward were bond insurer MBIA, engineering firm Fluor and video game maker Electronic Arts.

"The market seems to go back and forth daily based on who reports earnings and what they report, and today you had a couple of modestly disappointing earnings reports," said Dean Gulis, portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles & Co. "To some extent you're having a reaction to a pretty strong day yesterday."

On Monday the Dow surged more than 200 points in a broad rally after finance ministers in the Group of 20 said they would continue working to prop up world economies and would keep interest rates low.

On Tuesday the blue chips climbed 20.03 points, or 0.2%, to 10,246.97, a fresh 13-month high. But broader indexes ended in the red, if only slightly.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged down 0.07 of a point to 1,093.01, while the Nasdaq composite dropped 2.98 points to 2,151.08.

Eight stocks fell for every five that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

Yields on Treasury debt mostly held steady. The bond market will be closed today for Veterans Day, but the stock market will be open.

The dollar was little changed after touching a 15-month low Monday against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners.

Shares of MBIA plunged 27% after the firm posted a $727.8-million third-quarter loss. Fluor sank 7.6% after the engineering firm cut its full-year profit forecast, while Electronic Arts dropped 6.3% on its 11th straight quarterly loss.

Of the 430 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported quarterly earnings since Oct. 7, 83% have exceeded estimates. Retailers Macy's, Wal-Mart Stores and J.C. Penney are among the companies scheduled to release results this week.

In other market highlights:

* American International Group climbed 3.9%. Moody's said the insurer bailed out by the U.S. would be able to repay its $44-billion Federal Reserve credit line and "much or all" of the Treasury Department's $40-billion investment in the company if financial markets stabilized.

* Beazer Homes USA rose 8.7% after the builder posted its first quarterly profit in three years.

* Priceline.com jumped 18%. The online discount travel agency reported third-quarter sales and profit that topped analysts' estimates, buoyed by the summer travel season.

* Oil futures fell 38 cents to $79.05 a barrel in New York as Tropical Depression Ida weakened, allowing workers to return to offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

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