Stocks fell on Tuesday as a slew of corporate earnings failed to persuade investors to add to the previous session's gains.

Six Dow components have reported their results since the close of trading on Monday, including 3M Co , Johnson & Johnson and American Express Co .

J&J fell 2.2 percent to $60.84, pressured by lower-than-expected fourth-quarter sales, while 3M lost 2.3 percent to $88.28 as results barely topped estimates, apparently disappointing investors wowed by recent earnings blowouts from other industrial names.

Stocks have rallied such that you need to have really blowout numbers for shares to continue gaining, said Michael Yoshikami, president and chief investment strategist at YCMNET Advisors in Walnut Creek, California. I think we'll see a trend of strong earnings but stocks that dip afterwards.

Equities have advanced in recent weeks, in part in anticipation of strong corporate results. Weak bank earnings last week contributed to a stalled rally, and the S&P ended a seven-week run of gains.

On Monday, strength in technology and natural resource shares suggested a renewed sense of positive momentum, though gains came on low trading volume.

Verizon Communications Inc's profit and sales were slightly below estimates, but the stock rose 1.1 percent at $35.63.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 20.43 points, or 0.17 percent, at 11,960.09. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dipped 2.57 points, or 0.20 percent, at 1,288.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was off 11.70 points, or 0.43 percent, at 2,705.85.

Tellabs Inc tumbled 18 percent to $5.74, weighing on the Nasdaq after a warning that first-quarter sales would fall below expectations.

American Express Co fell 1.9 percent to $44.91 a day after reporting results. The stock was pressured by an uncertain regulatory outlook.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)