Stocks Start Mixed, Eye on Earnings

U.S. stocks opened little changed on Tuesday as companies turn in a mixed batch of earnings reports.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 12.82 point at 13,662.52. The S&P 500 index fell 0.12 point to 1,485.86. The Nasdaq Composite rose 2.37 points to 3,132.34.

Higher sales helped Johnson & Johnson post a much bigger fourth-quarter profit than a year ago, when a slew of charges depressed results. Excluding about $800 million in one-time acquisition and litigation charges, earnings in the latest quarter would have been $3.38 billion, or $1.19 per share. That beat the expectation of analysts by 2 cents per share.

DuPont reported fourth-quarter earnings per share (excluding-items) of 11 cents on Tuesday and fourth-quarter revenue of $7.3 billion. The company also provided a 2013 earnings forecast that was above market expectations. The company said 2013 earnings per share would be between $3.85 and $4.05.

Verizon Communications Inc.’s (NYSE:VZ) fourth-quarter loss widened on restructuring charges and Hurricane Sandy-related expenses while revenue grew more than expected, thanks to increased contracts in the wireless business. Verizon reported a loss of $4.23 billion, or $1.48 a share, compared with a loss of $2.02 billion, or 71 cents, a year earlier.

The value of American homes climbed 5.9% in 2012, the largest annual gain since the summer of 2006, or near the peak of the housing bubble, according to data released Tuesday by real-estate information provider Zillow Inc. In 2013, the company forecasts U.S. home values rising 3.3%, or more in line with historical norms.

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