A 2-day rally sputtered today as the Dow fell 171.44 to 12,207.17 on new jitters about a touchy market. Even strong quarterly reports from Microsoft, Caterpillar, and Honeywell couldn’t keep investors buying this morning; said one economist, “The market is still in a very fragile state.” The Nasdaq slid 34.72 to 2,326.20; the S&P 500 lost 21.46 to 1,330.61.
Caterpillar reported a fourth-quarter net-income boost of 11%, and Honeywell’s net income rose 18%. Some investors are heeding advice to hold out for low interest rates, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some say the Fed may eventually cut its key rate from 3.5% to 2%, with a half-point slash expected after 2 days of meetings end Wednesday.