U.S. stocks finished mixed on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 rising for a first session in three, and the Dow knocked after results from Verizon Communications, Travelers Companies and Johnson & Johnson.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 44.12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,414.44. Verizon fell after the telecommunications company reported fourth-quarter results. In a separate move, Verizon on Tuesday said it would purchase Intel's pay-television startup. The Travelers Companies lost ground after the insurance provider tallied a rise in fourth-quarter profit, but its margins troubled investors. Johnson & Johnson declined after the healthcare company projected 2014 earnings at the lower end of estimates.
All three had "reactions to what looked like good headline numbers but the proof was in the pudding," Elliot Spar, a market strategist at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., wrote in an afternoon note.
Corporate results so far have been mixed, with some yellow flags raised. "We still want to see it driven by revenue numbers increasing, but we are still seeing cost cutting" and other management moves keeping earnings in line, said Ian Kerrigan, a JP Morgan Private Bank investment specialist in Seattle. "The consumer is going to drive that top-line growth," added Kerrigan, who noted choppy, but positive trends in consumer sentiment amid rising home prices and reduced worries about dysfunction on Capitol Hill.