US stocks slightly lower in early trading a day after big jump; Movado up on strong results

Markets Associated Press

U.S. stocks moved lower in early trading Tuesday, erasing some gains from the day before. Investors had their eye on the latest round of corporate deals and new data showing U.S. home prices rose modestly in January.

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KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 92 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,883 as of 10:01 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost eight points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,077. The Nasdaq composite shed 20 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,926.

CABLE CONSOLIDATION: Shares in Charter Communications jumped 6.5 percent on news the company has agreed to buy fellow cable operator Bright House Networks in a deal valued at $10.4 billion. Charter added $12 to $195.40.

HOME SWEET HOME: A key gauge of U.S. home prices increased in January. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index released Tuesday rose 4.6 percent in January compared with 12 months earlier. The increase in U.S. home prices comes amid a decline in homes for sale in many markets, which pushes prices higher.

SECTOR WATCH: Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 were down. Energy stocks fell the most, while utilities edged higher. Specialty materials maker Allegheny Technologies notched the biggest decline among stocks in the S&P 500. Its shares fell $1.20, or 3.9 percent, to $29.63.

QUARTER'S END: Trading, as is often the case at the end of the quarter, was impacted by traders looking to close out positions to make their books look as healthy as possible.

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OVERSEAS ACTION: In Europe, France's CAC 40 was flat, while Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.4 percent lower. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index declined 1 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1.1 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 390 cents to $48.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 1.96 percent from 1.95 percent late Monday.