U.S. stocks started modestly higher following a 4% decline yesterday, retesting the November lows. President Obama's plan to help struggling homeowners is adding a little support to the markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 18 points to 7,570. The S&P 500 added 3 points to 792. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 7 points to stand at 1,478. The financials opened higher on the news to prevent foreclosures. Bond insurer, MBIA is up 25% after announcing plans to split the company into two separate companies. After the open, the modest rally fizzled. ING is down 8% following a dismal quarter. More bad earnings keep coming in. Agilent, Chesapeake Energy, Jack in the Box, Rogers Communication, and Jakks Pacific are all down 6% or more after missing estimates. Deere and Goodyear are also lower on earnings. In the tech sector, Amazon and Intel were upgraded. The stocks opened higher, but sold off. The commodities are weak once again. Gold looks the best, unchanged. After the first hour, the selling accelerated led by the financials. The Dow dropped 50 points inching closer to the bear market lows from November. The Nasdaq declined 7 points. Through the morning the Dow bounced off the lows, but remained in the red thanks to the financials. American Express made a new low. Bank of America and GE are within pennies of new lows. The techs are rebounding moving into the green. Intel, Cisco Systems, Google, Yahoo, Netgear, and IBM look good. During the lunch hour, all the major averages moved into the green. The financials are not rallying. As the afternoon progressed, the averages moved sideways near the unchanged level. The new lows are outpacing the new highs by 33 to 1. The list is full of banks, insurance, and REITS stocks. In the last hour the averages moved to the mean or the unchanged level. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 3 points at 7,555. The S&P 500 fell a point to 788, while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2 points to 1,467.
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