Stocks shook off early losses and were mostly higher at midday as investors watched a heavy flow of corporate earnings news along with several less than encouraging economic data reports.
U.S. consumer confidence in January fell to an index reading of 58.6 from an upward revised reading of 66.7 in December. It marked the third month in a row with a confidence decline, and it was the lowest point for the index in 14 months. The January index was more than five points lower than expected.
The Case-Shiller indexes also showed declines in home prices in November from the previous month, with the 10-metro-area index falling by 0.2% from October and the 20-city index slipping 0.1%. The indexes, however, were still higher on year-over-year and seasonally adjusted bases. The recent drop could also be a result of seasonality issues rather than broader weakness in the housing market.
Stocks on the Move
Ford Motor (F) posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday morning, but shares were down 6% at midday as overall results for 2012 were weaker than those of the year before, and the firm expects operating results for this year to be similar to 2012's tally.
Pfizer (PFE) shares were up by 3.2% at midday as fourth-quarter earnings per share almost doubled consensus estimates, even though revenue fell by 7% year over year following loss of exclusivity for Lipitor.
After Monday's closing bell, Yahoo (YHOO) reported a 7.9% decline in fourth-quarter profit, though revenue slightly improved. CEO Marissa Mayer continues to embark on turnaround efforts at the firm, but shares were down by 1.7% at midday.
Several other tech stocks were struggling Tuesday, as Seagate Technology (STX) slid by 8.3% after reporting a double-digit drop in year-over-year earnings and a conservative outlook for the year, while VMware (VMW) had plunged by 20.8% after offering a 2013 view below Wall Street expectations. EMC (EMC) was also down by 5% on concerns of its full-year forecast and its ownership stake with VMware.
T. Rowe Price Group's (TROW) fourth-quarter profit improved by 23%, but it was slightly lower than expected while the firm saw its first three-month period of net withdrawals in five quarters. Shares were 1.8% lower at midday.
Kevin O'Shaughnessy does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.