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S&P 500 cuts losses as earnings season heats up ahead of Microsoft earnings

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com -- The S&P 500 cut the bulk of losses Tuesday, but investors had to contend with wild swings as tech took a breather and investors digested a slew of mixed quarterly results ahead of earnings from Microsoft.

The S&P 500 was flat, Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3%, or 107 points, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.24%.

Tech was roughly unchanged on the day as gains in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) were offset by a wobble in Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) as the latter attracted further regulatory scrutiny.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Google, alleging that the search-engine giant violated antitrust laws by abusing its monopoly in ad technology.

Chip stocks gave back some gains from a day earlier on struggles in Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) as Bernstein downgraded the chipmaker to Market Perform from Outperform, citing weakness in the personal computer and new parts markets.

The sluggish direction in tech comes just as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and chip bellwether Texas Instruments Incorporated (NASDAQ:TXN) are set to report quarterly results after the closing bell.

Industrials, however, helped the broader market cut the bulk of its intraday losses, led by an 8% surge in PACCAR Inc (NASDAQ:PCAR) after the track manufacturing firm reported quarterly results that beat on both the top and bottom lines.

Defense companies including Raytheon Technologies Corp (NYSE:RTX) and Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT) also underpinned gains in the sector following the latter’s quarterly results that topped estimates.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, material maker 3M Company (NYSE:MMM) slumped more than 4% after quarterly earnings missed estimates and the company flagging a slowdown demand announcing 2,500 layoffs.

Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION), meanwhile, fell nearly 2% as its better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings per share was offset by a gloomy outlook as CEO Harris Simmons said the bank was socking away more money to protect against a slowing economy.

In meme-related news, Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) continued to put the squeeze on short sellers, rallying more than 11% even as the retailer is widely expected to be on the brink of bankruptcy.

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