U.S. stocks open mildly lower with investors looking for direction after yesterday largest down day so far this year. Energy shares are up once again as crude-oil futures topped $97 a barrel, while the technology sector is weighed down by technology giant Hewlett-Packard following disappointing guidance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 18 points to 12,194 due in part to the 11% drop in HP. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched up a point to 1,317. The Nasdaq Composite gained 3 points to 2,760. The earnings keep flooding in better than expected. Chesapeake Energy, Toll Brothers, Saks, Direct TV, Zales, Lowes, and Garmin are trading higher following earnings. The commodities continue to rally as oil pushes toward $100 a barrel. That's not good for the broader markets. A number of stocks are lower following earnings including Fluor, Eaton, Washington Post, TJX, Dollar Tree, Frontier Communications, Mohawk Industries, and Texas Roadhouse. Through the first hour the averages moved lower with the Dow dropping 50 points and the Nasdaq declining 19 points. The averages tried to rally a couple of times, but this market will have a tough time rallying with oil so high. Through the morning the averages pushed lower with the Dow dropping 80 points and the Nasdaq declining 40 points. Only the commodity stocks and Apple are trading higher. In the afternoon the Dow dropped over 100 points with the Nasdaq actually recovering a little bit thanks to a rebound in shares of Apple. In the last hour the averages continued to recover with a number of techs, financials, and commodities moving into the green. But it wasn't enough. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 107 points at 12,105. The S&P 500 fell 8 points to 1,307, with stocks in industrial companies sensitive to spikes in raw-materials prices leading decliners. The Nasdaq Composite lost 33 points, or 1.2%, to 2,722.
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