Stocks Ended Lower With Earnings Ahead

U.S. stocks ended lower on Tuesday as companies started to report results for the fourth quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 55.44 points, or 0.41%, to 13,328.85. The S&P 500 index fell 4.74 points, or 0.32%, to 1,457.15. The Nasdaq Composite index declined 7.00 points, or 0.23%, to 3,091.81.

Alcoa Inc (AA) reported a fourth-quarter profit on Tuesday as cost cuts helped offset a drop in aluminum prices. For the fourth quarter, the company reported net income of $242 million, or 21 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $191 million, or 18 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Sales fell 1.5 percent to $5.89 billion.

Unemployment rates fell below 7 percent in a majority of U.S. cities in November, suggesting steady job gains are benefiting most parts of the country. The Labor Department said Tuesday that rates fell in November from October in 215 of the 372 largest metro areas. Rates were unchanged in 33 and rose in 124.

U.S. consumers borrowed more in November to buy cars and attend school, but stayed cautious with their credit cards. The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that consumers increased their borrowing in November by $16 billion from October to a seasonally adjusted record of $2.77 trillion.

ChannelAdvisor said on Tuesday that client sales growth on Amazon.com Inc’s and eBay Inc’s online marketplaces slowed in December. client sales on Amazon.com grew 29.8 percent in December, compared with the same month last year. Client sales on eBay.com rose 22.2 percent in December, compared with a year earlier.

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