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U.S. stocks edge lower as earnings disappoint

(Richard Drew)
Trader John Liotti, left, and specialist Anthony Rinaldi work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. Stocks are mostly lower in early trading on Wall Street, led by a decline in utilities stocks. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks were mostly lower on Wall Street Tuesday as investors reacted to some disappointing company earnings.

NRG Energy slumped after the company lowered its earnings forecast for this year and next. That helped push down the stocks of power companies, making them the biggest decliners in the Standard & Poor's 500 index. News Corp. fell after the company posted an unexpected revenue decline due to weakness at the company's Australian newspapers.

Major U.S. market indexes are still trading close to record levels.

The Dow Jones industrial average has closed at an all-time high on three of the previous four trading days as investors become more optimistic about the economy after an unexpectedly strong jobs report on Friday.

Stocks have climbed to record levels this year as the Federal Reserve has kept up its $85 billion-a-month of bond purchases to keep interest rates low and boost the economy. Now investors may start focusing more on an improving economy rather than the future of economic stimulus, said Joe Quinlan, chief market strategist for U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management.

"It's not going to be gangbusters, but this economy is getting a head of steam as we go into 2014," Quinlan said.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 27 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,756 as of 11:17 a.m. The S&P 500 index was down two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,769. The Nasdaq composite fell four points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,915.

Eight of the 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 index fell, and two stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

Utility stocks dropped the most, led by NRG Energy, which dropped 68 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $27.39. News Corp. fell 43 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $16.98.

In U.S. government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.76 percent from 2.75 percent Friday. The bond market was closed Monday for the Veterans Day holiday.

In commodities trading, the price of oil fell 45 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $94.70 a barrel. The price of gold dropped $4.40, or 0.3 percent, to $1,276 an ounce.

Among other stocks making big moves:

— Dean Foods, a major milk producer, dropped $1.3, or 6.8 percent, to $18.19 after cutting its profit forecast.

— Dish Network climbed $1.55, or 3.2 percent, to $49.04 after the satellite television provider returned to profitability in the third quarter, beating analysts' expectations.

— D.R. Horton rose 39 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $18.42 after the home builder said that its net income rose 39 percent for its fiscal fourth quarter.

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