US stocks fluctuated, with earnings continuing to influence the measured moves in mainstream indexes ahead of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy meeting on Wednesday. Natural gas futures surged the most since January.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 29.40 points intraday, or 0.11%, after falling 11.20 points earlier in the session. S&P 500 rose marginally by 0.16%, after hitting a record high on Monday on expectations of a US-China trade deal, among other things. Nasdaq was down 0.31%.
Health care was the biggest gainer while communications services the steepest decliner after midday on Tuesday.
Xerox (XRX) reported adjusted third-quarter earnings that beat consensus and while sales fell from a year ago they still narrowly topped the analyst estimate. Shares surged 13% intraday, the most on the S&P 500, which had IPG Photonics (IPGP), a manufacturer of fiber lasers, as its steepest decliner. Shares of IPG slumped 13% as the firm reported earnings and sales that missed forecasts.
On Nasdaq, the top performer was Dutch chip-maker NXP Semiconductor (NXPI) with shares up 8% after the group reported better-than-expected results for its fiscal third quarter. The index was, however, was weighed down by disappointing quarterly results from Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) late on Monday.
Dow inched higher due in part to better-than-expected results from Pfizer (PFE) and Merck & Co. (MRK) for the third quarter.
The US 10-year was little changed, with yields down 1 basis point to 1.842%. The dollar weakened against the Japanese yen by 0.10% to 108.88.
According to the CME Group's FedWatchTool, there is a 97.3% probability of a cut in the Fed funds rate after the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee Wednesday.
"Natural gas is responding to winter weather forecasts that are tracking modestly colder, as well as extremely short positioning in natural gas," Rebecca Babin, a senior energy trader at CIBC Private Wealth Management, was cited as saying in a report from MarketWatch.
Crude was down $0.08 to $55.73 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.17 to $2.61 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $4.40 to $1,491.60 an ounce, and silver down $0.04 to $17.84 an ounce. Copper was up $0.01 to $2.69 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.25% to $11.62 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 4.99% to $21.27. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.68% to $27.33 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.26% to $140.28. The iShares Silver Trust was unchanged at $16.68.
Here's where the markets stood at midday:
NYSE Composite Index was up 43.23 points (+0.33%) to 13,229.66
Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 29.40 points (+0.11%) to 27,120.12
S&P 500 was up 4.97 point (+0.16%) at 3,044.50
Nasdaq Composite Index was down 25.44 points (-0.31%) to 8,300.17
FTSE 100 was down 31.62 points (-0.43%) to 7,299.66
DAX was down 2.38 points (-0.03%) to 12,937.93
CAC 40 was up 5.46 points (+0.10%) to 5,736.03
Nikkei was up 106.86 points (+0.47%) to 22,974.13
HSI was down 104.50 points (-0.39%) to 26,786.86
Shanghai Composite was down 25.87 points (-0.97%) to 2,954.18
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 31.24 points (+0.32%) to 9,659.95
NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 23.68 points (+0.28%) to 8,356.80
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 240.51 points (+1.47%) to 16,629.42
(+) AMKR (+31.18%) Tops third-quarter earnings per share and sales estimates
(+) TXRH (+17.84%) Raymond James and Wedbush release favorable views after Q3 earnings & sales beat
(+) MHH (+15.52%) Reports surge in organic revenue growth
(-) GRUB (-42.73%) Guides downbeat fourth-quarter sales after third-quarter results miss estimates
(-) SLCA (-35.47%) Third-quarter results miss expectations
(-) DBD (-30.16%) Posts surprise Loss in the third quarter as sales lag views and cuts full-year sales forecast