"If you lower the hurdles enough, companies can get over them," Roberts said.
The fact that individual investors are starting to return to stocks, as they have in recent weeks, is another sign that the market is due for a correction, Roberts and other analysts have said.
McGraw-Hill Cos., parent of the Standard & Poor's ratings agency, fell $5.38, or 10.7 percent, to $44.92, after the federal government sued S&P. The government said that S&P knowingly misled investors about the quality of the mortgage-backed securities it was rating in the run-up to the financial crisis that caused the Great Recession. The stock dropped 14 percent on Monday after early reports about the lawsuit leaked out.
Traders sold bonds as they moved money into stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, climbed four basis points to 2 percent.
Other stocks making big moves;
— Cereal maker Kellogg gained 40 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $58.50, after reporting fourth-quarter results. It booked a loss because of a pension-related charge, but underlying earnings rose, helped partly by the company's recent purchase of Pringles chips.
— Dell, the struggling computer giant, rose 15 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $13.47 after the company announced a $24.4 billion buyout deal led by founder Michael Dell that will take the company private at $13.65 a share.
— Yum Brands, parent of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, fell $1.86, or 2.9 percent, to $62.08 after the company warned late Monday that 2013 profits could decline as it continues to reel from a controversy over its chicken suppliers in China.
— Archer Daniel Midland, a company that makes food ingredients and animal feed, gained 94 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $29.38 after its earnings jumped in the last quarter following a restructuring.
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