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Mixed earnings hold back US stocks

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm •  Published: January 21, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — The Standard & Poor's 500 index logged a small gain Tuesday on a mixed day for the stock market.

Health-care giant Johnson & Johnson slipped after it warned that pressure to keep prices low would likely mean slightly lower profits than forecast. Delta Air Lines gained after reporting a better-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter as fares and traffic rose.

Company earnings were the main focus for investors Tuesday as there were no major economic releases. So far, the stock market has failed to get a big lift from earnings reports and investors appear to be assessing the results more critically than they did a year ago.

"Earnings are coming in and, candidly, we're getting a mixture picture for the fourth quarter so far," said Jim Russell, an investment director at U.S. Bank.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 5.10 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,843.80. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 44.12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,414.44. The Nasdaq composite edged up 28.18 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,225.76.

J&J, one of the 30 members of the Dow, slipped $1.03, or 1.1 percent, to $94.03, helping pull the index lower. Another Dow component, Verizon Communications, fell after reporting its own earnings.

Among the day's winners were Dow Chemical and Alcoa.

Dow Chemical rose $2.86, or 6.6 percent, to $45.93 after hedge fund Third Point LLC said Tuesday that it has acquired a significant stake in the company and wants it to spin off its petrochemicals division.

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