Stocks closed mixed as quarterly results from Bank of America and National City fueled worries about bank earnings, while energy and tech gained.
The tech-fueled Nasdaq turned positive in the afternoon when Apple posted a solid gain after Citigroup reiterated its buy rating for the iPhone and iPod manufacturer.
Bank of America the second-largest US bank, badly missed analyst expectationsas it said first-quarter profit fell, hurt by write-downs and rising credit losses. National City, the No. 10 U.S. bank, said it is close to a capital infusion of up to $7 billion.
The mixed bag of news renewed questions of whether the market had found a bottom and was ready to break out of its range, after the major indexes each gained more than 4 percent last week.
"We've given signs at least in the short run that we've put in the financial panic bottom. Now we've got to work our way through regional banks and others," said Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS. "The market is still very jiterry and very light volumes."
Toymaker Hasbro led the S&P after reporting solid earnings and reaffirming its outlook, while competitor Mattel was heading in the opposite direction after the largest U.S. toymaker said domestic sales for the Barbie doll were down 12 percent in the first quarter.
Pharmaceuticals also were moving the market. Dow component Merck brought some needed relief to the market as the pharmaceutical beat analyst estimates, helped by the strength of its deal with competitor AstraZeneca.
Shares of Novartis climbed after it reported a 10 percent jump in quarterly profit, topping expectations.
Drug maker Eli Lilly also reported results before the bell, disappointing Wall Street with earnings slightly below projections. Finally, Amylin shares tumbled after the company said its diabetes drug Byetta badly missed sales estimates in the first quarter.
And small-cap software supplier Packeteer saw its shares soar on high volume after news that it would be bought by Blue Coat Systems.