U.S. stocks started on the defensive on Tuesday, kicking off what historically has been the worst month for equities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25 points to 9,470. The S&P 500 shed 2 points to 1,018, while the Nasdaq Composite declined fractionally to 2,008. The techs are holding in there on plenty of upgrades. Research in Motion, Motorola, Apple, and Nvidia all received upgrades. All four are higher. Ebay is up 3% on news the company is selling it's Skype phone division. Nokia is modestly lower on a downgrade. The commodity space is bouncing back following a number of down days. The Brazilian oil giant, Petrobras is up 2% on an upgrade. The steel stocks are higher after an analyst raised prices for the industry and the commodity. The averages turned around following the first half an hour thanks to better than expected economic data. The Dow rose 50 points. The Nasdaq rose 20 points. The financials turned around. Ameritrade is up 2% on an upgrade. Metlife is down 2% on a downgrade. Bank of America is modestly higher on news the company wants to start paying back a portion of their TARP money. Good luck with that. After the first hour the rally fizzled, but the averages did remain in positive territory. Through the morning the selling accelerated. Something we haven't seen in quite some time. The Dow dropped 160 points. The Nasdaq declined 27 points. In the afternoon, the averages remained weak not far from the lows of the day. In the last hour, no improvement. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 185 points, or 2%, at 9,310, its worst daily hit in two weeks. The S&P 500 Index fell 22 points, or 2.2%, to end at 998, the index's first close below 1,000 since August 20th. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 40 points, or 2%, to close at 1,968.
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