Stocks End Mostly Lower After J&J Miss

Stocks ended mostly lower Tuesday after J&J's revenue miss stirred worries about this earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost about 15 points, or 0.1 percent. The S&P 500 shed 0.2 percent. The Nasdaq ended up—but less than a point.

Johnson and & Johnson beat earnings expectations but missed on revenue. J&J shares were the biggest percentage decliner on the Dow, down 2.4 percent.

Stocks had started the day lower after J&J's disappointing earnings, then tried to claw higher as oil topped $74 a barrel and tech stocks advanced ahead of Intel's earnings, which came after the closing bell.

But stocks couldn't hold gains for any length of time as the J&J report seemed to sink expectations for the quarter. So far, a few companies have delivered what analysts want to see this quarter—an improvement in revenue. But J&J's report suggested it may be more of the same: Earnings beats based on cost-cutting measures, not sustained growth in sales.

This came after the U.S. market's record day on Monday where the Dow Industrial Average reached a new 2009 trading high, within 100 points of the 10,000 mark.

The three biggest drags on the Dow were: J&J, Pfizer and Travelers.

The top three gainers were: Home Depot, Wal-Mart and AT&T.

Among 10 key S&P sectors, energy was the biggest gainer, up 1.2 percent.

Intelmay help get this earnings season back on the rails — and the Dow headed back toward 10,000. After the bell, the tech giant beat on both earnings AND revenue.

This is a big week for bank earnings: JPMorgan reports Wednesday, followed by Citigroup and Goldman Sachs on Thursday and Bank of America on Friday.

Shares of Goldman Sachs skidded 1.5 percent after independent analyst Meredith Whitney cut her rating on the stock to "neutral" from "buy." Her "buy" rating back in July sparked a rally after she predicted that Goldman would be in for a "hugely profitable quarter."

Big banks should do well in the coming quarters, helped by strong trading activity, banking analyst Dick Bove said on CNBC yesterday. But, he cautioned that regional banks will take a hit from commercial real estate.

Today, FDIC chair Sheila Bair said bank failures will continue at a pretty good clipbut shouldn't involve any more bailouts from taxpayers.

More M&A news this morning: Cisco has agreed to buy Starent Networks, a company that helps wireless-service providers support smart phones, for $2.9 billion. This is the second major acquisition in two weeks for Cisco: Earlier this month, the company agreed to buy videoconferencing-gear maker Tandberg ASA for $3 billion. Cisco shares rose 0.5 percent.

In other deal news, the Comcast -General Electric deal being discussed by the companies apparently includes two potential dates in which GE could unwind its stakein NBC Universal, the parent of CNBC, according to Reuters. GE shares eked out a gain of 0.4 percent.

Health-care stocks skidded after the Senate Finance Committee approved a health-care reform bill. The bill will now be merged with a Senate Health Committee bill and put to a vote before the full Senate.

No major economic reports today. Later this week, we'll get more insight on the economy, with the government's report on retail sales and reports on the consumer price index, initial jobless claims, and consumer confidence.

This Week:

TUESDAY: NABE annual meeting; Bear Stearns execs on trial; Enron's Skilling resentenced; Fed's Kohn and Dudley speak; Treasury budget; Earnings from Johnson & Johnson, Intel
WEDNESDAY: Allen Stanford court appearance; Weekly mortgage applications; government's report on retail sales; import/export prices; business inventories; Fed minutes; Earnings from Abbott Labs and JPMorgan
THURSDAY: IRS amnesty for offshore accounts ends; CPI; Empire State manufacturing; weekly jobless claims; Philly Fed; weekly crude inventories; Earnings from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Nokia, IBM and AMD
FRIDAY: Industrial production; consumer sentiment; Fed's Fisher speaks; Earnings from Bank of America, GE, Halliburton and Mattel

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