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Market Hustle: Stocks Post Sharp Declines as Travelers, J&J Disappoint

Tickers in this article: ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock markets were turning negative after a positive start Tuesday, as quarterly earnings reports put a damper on sentiment. Stocks had been firm in early trading, helped by the People's Bank of China's move to boost liquidity to its commercial banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average consisting of large, publicly-traded companies however was taking a hit in the wake of quarterly results from Johnson & Johnson , Travelers Companies , and ahead of International Business Machines'  results.

  • The S&P 500 was down 0.23% to 1,834.55, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was behind by 0.77% to 16,332.63, the Nasdaq was up 0.08% to 4,201.01 .
  • European and most Asian markets were higher Tuesday after the People's Bank of China said it would intervene in money markets to cool the "squeeze in interbank-lending lending/borrowing rates."
  • Johnson & Johnson JNJ was down 1.86% to $93.37 after missing estimates with a 2014 earnings projection of $5.75 to $5.85 a share.
  • Verizon VZ was giving up 2.71% to $47.04 even after exceeding fiscal fourth-quarter expectations. As report did also reveal ongoing weakness in the enterprise market and slowdowns in the wireless customer growth.
  • Travelers Companies TRV was off 1.7% to $85 even after reporting a more than tripling in fourth-quarter earnings, but revealed some slowdown in new business and lower-than-expected core margins.
  • International Business Machines reports fourth-quarter earnings after the closing bell. Shares were down 1.2% to $187.80.
  • The Federal Reserve is expected to keep cutting its massive bond-buying program when it meets next week (Jan 28-29) amid its expectations for solid economic growth this year.
  • U.S. markets were closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day. The economic calendar is empty Tuesday, with investors looking to weekly jobless claims and existing home sales data later this week.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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