The Dow falls slightly as stocks traded in choppy action as investors awaited a vote by Slovakia on the amended European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), Europe’s bailout fund.

 
 
  • Standard & Poor's said it is downgrading its ratings on 10 Spanish banks.  The ratings service cited the country's poor economic growth prospects, low activity in the property market and the banks' vulnerability to capital flows.
 
  • Earnings season unofficially kicked-off this evening after Dow component Alcoa released results. Alcoa reported earnings well below market forecasts.
 
  • Dollar Thrifty Automotive lost 2% to $59.19. The car-rental company has decided to remain an independent company, a year-and-a-half after reaching a deal to be acquired by Hertz. Hertz gained 1.4% to $10.22.
 
  • AMR's American Airlines said it will cut capacity by about 3% in response to high fuel prices and economic uncertainty.  Analyst said the move would support prices for plane tickets. Shares gained 7.1% to $2.71.
 
  • Oil prices closed at $85.81 a barrel.
  • And Gold settled at $1,661 an ounce.