The major averages took a breather on Tuesday. Ken Meyers has your stock market report on the Acadiana Business Index.

  • The Dow was down 32 points to 15451. The S&P 500 Index closed lower for the first time in nine sessions as it lost 6 points to 1676. The NASDAQ fell over 8 points to 3598.
  • Stocks retreated as investors grew cautious before the start of Fed Chairman Bernanke’s two-day testimony to Congress.
  • Ahead of Wednesday’s statement, regional Fed President George said the central bank should soon taper its bond buying program amid signs of steady gains in the labor market.
  • A batch of encouraging economic data was overlooked. Industrial production advanced for the first time in three months and the NAHB’s gauge of homebuilder confidence unexpectedly advanced to a seven-year high. A separate report showed the cost of living rose to the highest level since February amid a spike in gasoline prices.
  • Overall, nearly every sector finished lower. Energy paced the decline as Marathon Petroleum dropped 4.3% to $69.95. Materials also lagged behind, led by Mosaic’s 3.7% loss to $54.07 after posting a disappointing profit tally. Coca-Cola also delivered weak earnings results, causing its shares to fall 1.9% to $40.24.
  • Earnings will stay in focus after the close with notable reports due out from Yahoo and CSX.
  • NYSE Composite volume totaled over 3 billion shares. On the NYSE, decliners beat advancers by 2-1 on issues and by 9-5 on volume. The NASDAQ was 6-5 negative on issues and 4-3 negative on volume.
  • In fixed-income, Treasuries finished little changed. The 10-year note was up 1/32 to yield 2.53% and the 30-year bond gained 5/32 to yield 3.58%.

For the complete economic report, click Ken's Market Report.