Stocks Slide, Hit by Dollar, McDonald's

Stocks skidded Tuesday as the strengthening dollar chased buyers from equity markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down about 80 points as the halfway point approached.

The big buzz this morning was about banking analyst Meredith Whitney, who said on CNBC that the government is running out of ways to help the economy.

"I think they're out of bullets,"Whitney said.

One of her biggest concerns is a lack of credit access for consumers, who are "getting kicked out of the financial system."

The dollar edged higher against major currencies after Fitch downgraded Greece's credit rating. The U.S. currency held its ground even after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday gave strong indications that the central bank would not be raising rates and defending the US currency anytime soon.

Oil fell below $73 a barrel, while gold dropped below $1,150 an ounce.

McDonald'swas the biggest drag on the Dow after the fast-food giantsaid same-store sales fell 0.6 percentin November, the second straight monthly decline.

3M, which makes everything from Post-It notes to Scotch tape, issued a forecast that missed expectations.

FedEx delivered earnings that handily beat its previous forecast.

Texas Instruments will deliver its mid-quarter update at about 5 pm.

Looking to the economy, President Obama's speech on jobs and the economy will command most of Wall Street's attention today, given its importance as well as a relatively light economic calendar. The speech is scheduled to take place at 11:15 am, and among the most notable points will be exactly how much in repurposed Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds might be used for job creation.

Elsewhere, ExxonMobil, and its partners have given final approval to a $15 billion liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea, expected to start delivering gas to Asian customers in 2014.

Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report
Winterizing Your Portfolio - A CNBC Special Report

The Wall Street Journal reported that United Airlines is splitting a new order of 50 widebody jets between Boeing and Airbus.

The Journal also reported that Seagate Technology, the biggest maker of computer disk drives, is planning to expand into the market for solid-state drives, devices that store data on memory chips.

In addition, the Journal reported that P&G Chairman A.G. Lafley will be stepping down from his post on Jan. 1, 2010.

And the Treasury begins three days of auctions today, selling $40 billion in 3-year notes, with results available shortly after 1 pm. $21 billion in 10-year notes will be sold tomorrow, with $13 billion in 30-year bonds to be auctioned Thursday.

- Peter Schacknow contributed to this article.

This Week:

ALL WEEK: Copenhagen climate summit
TUESDAY: CIT bankruptcy hearing; GE capital investor meeting; 3-year auction
WEDNESDAY: BoE meeting; AOL spinoff; weekly mortgage applications; Madoff hearing; weekly crude inventories; 10-year auction
THURSDAY: BoE rate decision; AOL shares begin trading; international trade; weekly jobless claims; 30-year auction; Earnings from Costco
FRIDAY: Government report on retail sales; import/export prices; business inventories; Art Nadel hearing

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