Stock Market Today: The Buyers Return

Just like that, stocks caught a bid. In danger of finishing the month with a loss of more than 3% — something that portends a down year two-thirds of the time we have had similar Januarys — the buyers returned.
It wasn’t a monster rally or anything like that. Nope, just a good old fashioned up day in the market. Stocks closed higher across the board. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 91 points to finish just below 16,000. The S&P 500 added 11 points.
Particularly impressive was the 14-point gain on the Nasdaq. Holding back the technology-heavy index was Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL).The 44-point loss in Apple shares threatened to put the Nasdaq in negative territory all day, but buying elsewhere lifted the index to the positive.
Icahn can’t save Apple today
Perhaps most interesting trade of the day was the sideways action in Apple after a lower open. After a disappointing earnings report the stock opened down 8% and stayed there for most of the day. Despite lots of commentary on the subject of Apple’s future or lack thereof, the stock did not move much throughout the day.
Not even Carl Icahn could change the tone in Apple shares. The financial activist said he bought more shares after the disappointing results. There were no followers apparently – at least not on Tuesday.
Seagate fares worse than Apple
Also in tech land, shares of Seagate Technology (NASDAQ: STX) fell by 11% on Tuesday. The disk drive company reported results on Monday that missed expectations by 7 cents per share. Future guidance also disappointed.
Slow growth in the cloud computing world was to be blamed. With the stock down all day and drifting lower at the close, it would appear buyers remained on the sidelines. Look for this one to get cheaper.
Too cold to snowmobile at Polaris
Shares of Polaris (NYSE:PII) lost 3% on Tuesday after reporting earnings that beat estimates by a penny per share, but included a forecast that was weaker than expected on both the top and bottom line.
Apparently the bitter cold in much of the country is depressing buying. The good news is the stock rallied throughout the day to trim its losses. Perhaps the guidance was simply a case of being conservative.
Investors cautious with Ford
The market is in a sour mood. Not even a solid report by Ford (NYSE: F) could lift shares. The stock opened higher, but sold off in the afternoon. It took a late rally to simply break even.
Ford reported earnings that beat estimates by 3 cents per share. Revenues and future guidance was in-line. Statements from the company suggest that 2014 will be a far different year than 2013. That caution despite maintaining guidance is what spooked investors.
On Deck
Blame the President. Stocks were poised for a rally today after Turkey’s impressive move on interest rates there. Instead, more government confusion and potential haggling set a depressing tone for the stock market today.
We have much to watch today including Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO). The turn-around there might not be going so well. The stock is down in pre-market trading after disappointing results on Tuesday after the bell.
The Federal Reserve will be in focus as well. It’s the last policy meeting for outgoing Chairman, Ben Bernanke. Expectations are for the central bank to continue tapering its bond buying program.

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