Stocks end mixed second day in a row
NEW YORK » Stocks wobbled and closed mixed for a second straight session Tuesday after a dip in consumer confidence countered better-than-expected quarterly results from companies such as Eastman Kodak Co. Nonetheless, Wall Street ended an unusually strong October with solid gains for the month.
The market was uneasy after the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence fell to 105.4 from 105.9 in September. The reading was well below the 107.8 analysts expected and raised concerns on Wall Street about the strength of consumer spending, and in turn, the economy, in the coming months.
Yesterday's trading recalled Monday's session, when stocks meandered as investors digested mixed economic data and a weak sales report from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that also made them question consumer sentiment.
"The consumer is spooking the equity markets and driving the bond market to rally," said Andrew Richman, fixed-income strategist at SunTrust Bank.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 5.77, or 0.05 percent, to 12,080.73. The Dow had fallen by more than 52 points earlier in the session.
Broader stock indicators were barely higher. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.01, or less than 0.01 percent, to 1,377.94, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 2.94, or 0.12 percent, to 2,366.71.
Advancing issues barely outnumbered decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 2.78 billion shares compared with 2.27 billion Monday.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 3.52, or 0.46 percent, to 766.84.
Bonds were up sharply. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was4.61 percent, down from 4.67 percent late Monday.
The dollar fell against other major currencies; gold prices also fell.
Crude oil rose 37 cents to settle at $58.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had traded sharply lower earlier in the session as political unrest in Nigeria faded, allowing production to resume.
Also, doubts remain about whether OPEC will implement production cuts.
The tepid session wrapped up an extraordinarily successfully October on Wall Street.
Kodak rose 65 cents, or 2.75 percent, to $24.40 after posting a narrower-than-expected loss amid a 10 percent decline in sales.
The company has tried to reap profits from digital photography as its bread and butter film business has eroded.
UAL Corp., parent of United Airlines, fell 83 cents, or 2.26 percent, to $35.94 after reporting a profit for the second straight quarter.