Dow Finishes on the Fence, Nasdaq Slides

FOX Business: The Power to Prosper

Energy and materials stocks struggled the most in chopping trading after many commodities sold off on the day.

Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.15 point to 12,808, the S&P 500 was off 4.6 points, or 0.34%, to 1,357 and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 22.5 points, or 0.78%, to 2,842. The FOX 50 was up 0.95 point to 955.

Companies like Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) and Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW) were the hardest hit on the day. However, consumer names like Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) and Kraft Foods (NYSE:KFT) gained.

The dollar has eked out gains the last two sessions after sinking to multi-year lows last week. The greenback traded 0.13% higher against a basket of world currencies and the euro gained 0.03% against the dollar.

Strength in the dollar, combined with concerns over international crude demand, pressured commodity markets on Tuesday. Generally, commodities trader inversely to the dollar since they are traded in dollars, meaning currency needs to be converted in to purchase the commodity.

Light, sweet crude slid $2.47, or 2.2%, to $111.05.  Crude is still up more than 20% for the year. Wholesale RBOB gasoline was off two cents, or 0.55%, to $3.33 a gallon.

The markets will get fresh data on oil and gasoline stocks on Wednesday, which may move prices considerably.

Gas prices on the consumer level, which tend to lag behind the wholesale market, haven't let up.  A gallon of regular gas cost $3.97 on average nationwide, up from $3.65 last month and $2.90 last year.  The record high was $4.11 recorded in July 2008.

Gold prices fell $16.70, or 1.1%, to $1,540 a troy ounce after settling at a record high on Monday.

The optimism over strong first-quarter earnings that sent the markets to multi-year highs has waned somewhat in recent sessions.  Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) posted quarterly profits of $2.2 billion, or 28 cents a share.  Excluding one-time costs, the medical giant earned 60 cents a share, topping forecasts by a penny.  However, the company's revenue of $16.5 billion was $130 million short of analysts' estimates.

Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) expects to post a net loss of between $1.35 and $1.81 a share, due to weak sales, putting considerable pressure on sales.

The "big three" domestic automakers posted solid gains in sales as compared with anemic results last year. General Motors (NYSE:GM) saw its sales increasing 26% in April, on strong sales of compact cars and crossovers. Ford (NYSE:F) posted a 16% gain in sales, also driven by demand for smaller cars.  And Chrysler's sales jumped 22%, led by mid-size vehicles and its Jeep brand.

On the economic front, orders for manufactured equipment jumped 3% in March, topping forecasts of a gain of 1.9%.

Despite generally positive data on the manufacturing sector, there are still mixed opinions from economists on the pace of economic expansion.

Indeed, Goldman Sachs released a research note Tuesday saying the firm expects weakness in the U.S. dollar coupled with strong international expansion to boost American exports in the near-term. However, the investment bank warns they expect exports to start weakening again in the fourth quarter, presenting a "modest upside risk" to economic growth.

Other data are more encouraging.  The ISM manufacturing index released Monday ticked slightly lower, but showed a continued high rate of expansion for the sector.  This may bode well for the labor market growth and broader economic expansion.

"Economic momentum is increasing in the current quarter," economists at Deutsche Bank wrote in a note.  "The groundwork for a strong labor recovery is being put into place."

Yet another analysts by economists at HSBC suggests "households have postponed or eliminated spending" on a slew of services, such as restaurant meals and recreational activities.  Combined with depressed levels of spending on housing, this "puts the economy on a slower growth path" as compared wit previous recoveries, the report said.

Corporate News

Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) is being sued by U.S. regulators over "reckless" lending practices, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Nissan Motors will be awarded a 10-year contract to build the next generation of New York City taxis, a deal that could be worth $1 billion, according to the New York Daily News, citing unnamed sources.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) refreshed its iMac lineup with faster processors and thunderbolt ports, which allow peripherals to connect at super-fast speeds.

Sirius XM Radio's (NASDAQ:SIRI) first-quarter profit jumped 88%, and the satellite radio company's subscriber-base climbed past the 20 million mark.

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) offices in South Korea were raided by authorities for allegedly illegally collecting customer's location information on its mobile advertising platform.

Sony (NYSE:SNE) was the subject to another major hacking, with thieves stealing personal information from 24.6 million users including 10,700 debit card record from gamers in Europe. This comes on the heels of a hack into the company's PS3 network, that comprised 77 million accounts.

Level 3 Communications (NASDAQ:LVLT) unveiled earnings of 11 cents a share on $929 million in revenue, beating Wall Street's view of 10 cents on $922.6 million.

Foreign Markets

Global shares were mixed as traders took profits after a five-day winning streak.

The English FTSE 100 was up 0.21% to 6,083, the French CAC 40 fell 0.29% to 4,097 and the German DAX slumped 0.36% to 7,501.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 soared 1.6% to 10,004 and the Chinese Hang Seng slipped 0.37% to 23,633.