Monday, October 22 16:17:13
Global stocks faltered today on concerns about weak corporate results and outlooks, while the euro gained as an election victory in Spain was seen as helping the country to seek international aid to ease the euro zone debt crisis.
Most U.S. stocks traded near break-even as heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc put the S and P 500 on track for a third straight decline after the benchmark index suffered its worst one-day decline since late June on Friday.
Caterpillar slashed its 2012 forecast for the second time this year and warned that the global economy was slowing more quickly than it had expected.
But after an initial decline, Caterpillar, a bellwether for global growth, reversed course and gained 1.0 percent to $84.72, helping the Dow to trade almost flat.
"Caterpillar is a cyclical stock, and there's always a battle between a slowdown in the economy and growth expectations," said Shawn Hackett, president at Hackett Financial Advisors in Boynton Beach, Florida. "The stock is extremely volatile during periods when the economic outlook is uncertain."
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 13.82 points, or 0.10 percent, at 13,329.69. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index was down 1.87 points, or 0.13 percent, at 1,431.32. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.94 points, or 0.06 percent, at 3,007.56.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares fell 0.4 percent to 1,107.81 points.