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U.S. stocks started lower on Tuesday, retreating after a two-session rise and ahead of an August report on consumer confidence and minutes from the Federal Reserve's last meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 29 points to 11,510. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 4 points to 1,205. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 8 points to 2,553. The sell off sold far is subdued. The financials and insurance stocks are pulling back after a big run up yesterday. Allstate received an upgrade this morning, but the stock is lower by 2%. Charles Schwab is lower on a downgrade. BB&T is unchanged even though it was upgraded. Bank of America is down 2% on news the FDIC has concerns about their bond insurer settlement. The sector that seems to be holding up the best is the commodity space. The fertilizers look good as CF Industries received an upgrade. The stock is up 1.5%. The oils are lower. Diamond Offshore and Transocean are both down over 2% on downgrades. In the retail space Dollar General is up 3% on earnings. DSW is higher as well on earnings. Barnes & Noble is jumping 17% even though they missed earnings estimates. Go figure out that stock. At 10 o'clock a weak consumer confidence number set a bad tone for the rest of the day. The averages quickly sold off with the Dow dropping 90 points and the Nasdaq dropping 30 points. Surprisingly, the averages actually didn't sell off more. Through the morning the averages tried to recover. The best performing stocks include a select number of commodities and a few techs. The rare earth stocks are all higher on speculation of takeovers. Who would take them over, I don't know. Probably no one. During the lunch hour all the major averages moved into the green only to give back the gains by the middle of the afternoon. Clorox is up 3% on news if Carl Icahn is elected to the board, he'll move to split up the company to unlock value. At 2 o'clock the Fed minutes did little to initially move the markets, however, the averages did improve into the last hour on hopes of a QE3. The Dow rose almost 100 points only to sell off into the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 20 points at 11,559. The S&P 500 added 2 points to 1,212, led by the telecoms and natural-resource sectors. The Nasdaq Composite ended up 14 points at 2,576.
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