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By Jennifer Yousfi
Stocks dipped lower today (Tuesday), as investor confidence about first quarter earnings remains low.
At midday in New York, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average Index was down 25.57 points (-0.21%), to trade at 12,276.49. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 6.65 points (-0.29%), to reach 2,269.17. And the broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index decreased 3.31 points (-0.25%), to hit 1,325.01.
The basic materials sector (up 0.87%) and the conglomerates sector (up 0.61%) posted the biggest gains, while the capital goods sector (down 0.42%) and the technology sector (down 0.49%) posted the largest declines.
"The market is digesting the whole banking and financial issues, but the market has still to digest the recession story and how much of a damage to earnings we'll get," Owen Fitzpatrick, head of the U.S. equity group at Deutsche Bank AG (DB), told MarketWatch.
Tech shares such as Dow-component International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) were down. Intel Corp.'s (INTC) earnings release is slated for after the market the closes this evening.
In overseas markets early today, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index gained 0.6% with an increase of 73.07 points to close at 12,990.58. Hong Kong's blue-chip Hang Seng Index inched up 0.4% with a 90.13-point gain, to close at 23,901.33.
At midday, the dollar had gained ground against the yen (up 0.486%) and the pound sterling (up 0.540%), but lost ground against the euro (down 0.051%).
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