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Alcoa Slips!


NEW YORK (Dow Jones)–U.S. stocks opened slightly lower Tuesday as a disappointing first-quarter report from Alcoa and a wider-than-expected trade deficit dampened sentiment, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average back below the 11000 level.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 20 points, or 0.2%, at 10986 in early trading. Alcoa was the measure’s worst performer with a drop of 2.8%. The aluminum giant reported a narrower quarterly loss and held out hopes for improvement in the year ahead, striking a positive note as the first major company out of the gate to report first-quarter earnings. But its earnings excluding items merely met analysts’ estimates while revenue came in weaker than expected. UBS cut its investment rating on the stock to neutral from buy following the report.

Intel is the next heavyweight to report, with the world’s largest chip maker slated to post its first-quarter numbers after the close of trade Tuesday. Ahead of the report, Intel edged up 0.2%, making it the Dow’s best performer.

The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1%. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index declined 0.2%, with the materials and energy sectors leading its decline.

Tuesday’s small drop in stocks comes after the Dow on Monday closed above 11000, something it hadn’t achieved since the financial system began teetering nearly 19 months ago. By inching past the milestone, the Dow continued what amounts to a stealth rally in a market characterized by below-average trading volume and small daily moves.

The market is now looking to see if the S&P 500 can climb above the key 1200 mark. It closed Monday at 1196.48, its highest close since Sept. 26, 2008. However, the measure appeared unlikely to reach that level Tuesday, as investors were disappointed by Alcoa’s report and data that showed the U.S. trade deficit rose more than expected in February.

The wider U.S. trade deficit came as soaring imports of consumer goods and industrial supplies outweighed the impact of oil imports falling to their lowest level in 11 years. The deficit rose 7.4% to $39.70 billion in February, higher than the $39 billion shortfall Wall Street was expecting.

High chance tomorrow Ausgroup will drop also. What a bad timing!

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