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.