MARKETS FLAT AS EARNINGS OFFSET GREECE FEARS

By NBF NEWS
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United States stocks were little changed on Tuesday, as strong earnings offset German demands for new austerity measures from Greece that prompted more worries over shaky Greek debt.

Financial stocks were also in focus, as the Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs Group Incorporated testified before a Senate subcommittee examining Goldman's role in the financial crisis. The stock was up 0.5 per cent to $152.76.

Greek bondsy, according to Reuters on Tuesday, sank to new lows as investors speculated on the possibility the region's rich governments will fail to agree on a bailout in time to prevent a Greek sovereign debt default.

Both DuPont and Company and 3M Co posted better-than-expected quarterly profits and raised their full-year outlooks. 3M gained two per cent to $89.08, while fellow Dow component DuPont fell 1 per cent at $40.56.

'The really strong earnings we have seen have been sort of overshadowed by the concerns over Greece and Goldman, but the market could turn positive on (the earnings),' Chief Investment Officer at North Star Investment Corportion in Chicago, Eric Kuby, said.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 9.68 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 11,214.71. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 1.64 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 1,210.41. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.75 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 2,522.20.

Ford Motor Company earnings topped estimates and the carmaker raised its 2010 forecast, while Texas Instruments Incorporated reported earnings that beat estimates late Monday and forecast better-than-expected revenues. Ford fell 4.2 per cent to $13.86, while TI was down 1.8 per cent at $26.66.

On the data front, home prices fell in the month of February, but rose from a year ago for the first time in more than three years, Standard & Poor's said. Separately, the Conference Board reported consumer confidence was up more than expected in April to the highest level since September 2008.

'If you consider both sides of the home prices coin, the fact that there's stabilization is more important than it being a little below estimates,' Chief Market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut, ' Michael Sheldon, said.

About two stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange, while on the Nasdaq slightly more stocks fell than rose.