Stocks Opened Lower on Greece Talks

U.S. stocks started lower on Tuesday as talks to resolve Greece’s debt-swap issues floundered. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 80.83 points to 12,627.99. The S&P 500 declined 8.18 points to 1,307.82. The Nasdaq Composite shed 14.47 points to 2,769.70.

Europe and private investors were gearing up for hard negotiations on how to cut Greece’s massive debt Tuesday, after the region’s finance ministers adopted a tough stance on how much rescue money they would pump into the Greek economy.

Fast food giant McDonald’s reported strong fourth quarter results this morning, as revenue surged 10% to $6.8 billion and earnings increased to $1.38 billion, or $1.33 per share. Comparable store sales increased 14% during the quarter and 14% for the full-year, with Europe up 15% and Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa comps gaining 27% over 2011.

Verizon paid dearly to put iPhones in the hands of subscribers in the latest quarter, holding back its profits in the hope that its customers will rack up higher monthly bills and stay loyal.  It lost $2.02 billion, or 71 cents per share, in the last three months of 2011. That compares with net income of $2.64 billion, or 93 cents per share, a year ago.

The DuPont Co. said Tuesday that fourth-quarter income dipped slightly as volume declines and cost increases offset sales gains and higher prices. The company reported net income for the quarter of $373 million, or 40 cents per share, compared with $376 million, or 40 cents per share, in the previous year’s fourth quarter.

Iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson says higher sales helped it post a $105.7 million fourth-quarter profit, a reversal from a year-ago loss. Harley-Davidson Inc. reported Tuesday that it had net income of 46 cents per share for the three months ended Dec. 31. That contrasts with a loss of $46.8 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 12 percent to $1.03 billion as retail sales of new motorcycles grew 11 percent worldwide.

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