U.S. stocks wavered between small gains and losses in early trade on Tuesday as declines from technology and energy sector companies offset strength in financial stocks.
The S&P 500 Index gained 0.42 points, or 0.03 percent, to trade at 1,310.62 at 10:00 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 5.15 points, or 0.04 percent, to trade at 12,095.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.17 percent.
Energy sector stocks fell as crude prices eased to below $105 a barrel on reports that OPEC may boost production. Kuwait's oil minister said OPEC was in talks to boost production for the first time in more than two years.
Confusion reigns in Libya over whether Moammar Gaddafi offered rebel leaders a peace deal or not. According to Al Jazeera, opposition groups in the eastern city of Benghazi are considering a conditional proposal from Gaddafi that he will step down from power in exchange for various concessions. However, Libyan state television denied reports that Gaddafi sought any kind of compromise agreement with the opposition.
On the corporate front, Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN) shares plunged 15.98 as its fourth quarter earnings fell short of analysts’ expectations. Its quarterly net income declined to $75.2 million or $0.45 per share compared to $77.7 million or $0.45 per share in the same quarter last year, while analysts expected a net profit of $0.52 per share.
Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) shares gained 2.4 percent after the company stock was upgraded to “buy” rating from “hold” rating at Citi.
U.S. stocks ended lower on Monday, led by declines from technology shares after Wells Fargo downgraded the semiconductors sector.
The euro weakened against the dollar on Tuesday, as concerns over the sovereign debt crisis re-emerged in the region, ahead of the European Union’s summit on Friday.
European stock markets pared earlier gains after European Central Bank council member Axel Weber signaled the ECB may raise interest rates several times this year. Markets are currently trading lower with FTSE 100 down by 23.89 points, DAX30 down by 54.86 points and CAC 40 down by 6.65 points.