U.S. stocks sputter on the open, disheartened by FedEx's forecast, but encouraged by data calming inflation worries. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 13 points to 8,518. The S&P 500 Index inched up a point to 913, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 5 points to 1,802. FedEx is trading down 2%, but it was lower premarket. The financials are under pressure even though a number of them are paying back the government's TARP money today. Standard and Poors downgraded or reversed their debt rating outlook for 22 regional banks like Keycorp and M&T. Both are lower by 5%. E-Trade is lower by 13% after announcing plans to raise more money. Discover and Hartford are lower on downgrades. In the tech sector, Texas Instruments is higher on an upgrade and that's about it. Google, Apple, and Nvidia are lower even though they were all upgraded. Research in Motion is lower by 3% ahead of earnings tomorrow. The fertilizer stocks are sharply lower on weak demand coming out of Europe. After the first hour, the averages were in the red. The Dow dropped 25 points. The Nasdaq declined 7 points. Through the morning, the averages recovered to the unchanged level. In the afternoon, the averages moved modestly into the green. The techs are performing better. The financials and commodities remain weak. In the last hour, the averages gravitated back to the unchanged level. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6 points to end at 8,497. The S&P 500 Index declined a point to 910, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 11 points to end at 1,808.
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