Stocks Slide; Banks, Netflix Gain
Stocks declined Tuesday amid buzz that Greece wants to renegotiate its bailout package and as investors await minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting.
Greece was reportedly seeking to change its bailout agreement but a top finance-ministry official swatted down such rumors. Meawhile, Greece is now looking to U.S. investors with a multibillion-dollar bond issue here in a few weeks and is, charmingly, billing itself as an emerging market.
The Dow was down more than 20 points in morning trading, after flirting with 11,000in the previous session.
Banks advanced after a pair of analyst upgrades on the sector.
Wells Fargo raised its ratings on the sector to "market overweight," saying it thinks Bank of America and PNC Financial were among the best positioned.
JPMorgan also raised its rating on U.S. banks, to "market weight" from "overweight."
Bank of America was among the handful of gainers on the Dow, along with DuPont after Bank of America/Merrill Lynch raised its rating on the stock to "neutral from underperform."
Disney and Boeing were also among the blue-chip gainers.
AT&T fell amid news that the company plans to spend $1 billionto upgrade its network.
Microsoft shares skidded amid buzz that the company is preparing to announce its long-awaited "Project Pink" phones aimed at the youth marketearly next week. Little is known about the phones except that they will include social networking capabilities and will be sold by Verizon . It is thought they may be an updated version of the Sidekick.
Apple slipped as the early sales results were good but came as a bit of a disappointment to Wall Street — 300,000 sold on the first day, compared with expectations of 400,000 to 500,000.
But the iPad gave a boost to another stock: Netflix shares continued to rise, after hitting a 52-week high on Monday, as it's one of the most popular apps on Apple's new iPad.
Shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion rose after taking a beating in recent sessions.
Homebuilders skidded after Credit Suissed downgraded its rating on KB Home and NVR , saying, "We are shifting to a neutral stance on the builders, as we think that much of the 'spring trade' has played out and we expect a slowing in housing demand after the April 30th expiration of the homebuyer tax credit."
Pulte Homes was among the hardest hit in the sector after Stifel Nicolaus initiated coverage with a "sell" rating.
European shares were higher after UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the country's next general election for May 6, while Asian stocks ended mixed with the Nikkei 225 closing lower.
In keeping with the modest nature of Wall Street's so-called "stealth rally," the major averages continued to creep higher Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average advancing toward 11,000 points. But it hasn't quite gotten there just yet. The Dow is currently about 27 points short of that mark, where it has not closed since September 26, 2008. The index has only had four losing sessions in the past month.
The release of the latest FOMC minutes will happen at 2 pm New York time. Investors usually look to the minutes for more clues as to how and when the Federal Reserve will unwind its accommodative monetary policy.
Details and highlights of an exclusive interview with Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker on the same subjectwill be seen throughout the morning on CNBC's Squawk Box. The Treasury will hold an auction of 3-year notes Tuesday afternoon, with the results available shortly after 1 pm.
In the news, 25 coal miners are dead and four are missing, after a massive explosion in a West Virginia mine owned by Massey Energy . Rescue teams are planning to continue to search for the missing workers. It's the worst U.S. mining disaster in more than two decades.
Peabody Energy raised its offer for Australia's Macarthur Coal to $3.27 billion. However, analysts suggest the bidding could go even higher, as the new bid is below Macarthur's current market price.
And the Financial Times reported that Greece 's dollar bond offer in the U.S. will run between $5 billion and $10 billion, as demand for its debt dwindles in Europe.
TUESDAY: Fed's Kocherlakota speaks; 3-year auction; Fed minutes
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps; weekly crude inventories; Fed's Dudley, Hoenig speak; 10-year auction; consumer credit; Earnings from Family Dollar, Bed, Bath & Beyond
THURSDAY: BOE, ECB announcements; weekly jobless claims; Fed's Kocherlakota speaks; 30-year auction; Earnings from Pier 1, Chevron (interim results)
FRIDAY: Wholesale trade
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