NEW YORK — Stocks fell back from record levels Tuesday as investors reacted to some disappointing company earnings.
NRG Energy slumped after the company lowered its earnings forecast for this year and next. That helped push down the stocks of power companies, making them the biggest decliners in the Standard & Poor's 500 index. News Corp. fell after the company posted an unexpected revenue decline due to weakness at the company's Australian newspapers.
Airline stocks rose, led by gains for JetBlue Airways, after the Justice Department said it cleared the way for American Airlines and US Airways to merge, creating the world's biggest airline.
This year's surge in stocks has slowed to a grind in November. The stock market has edged higher this month following 10 straight months of solid gains. The S&P 500 is still up 24 percent for the year.
The Dow Jones industrial average has closed at an all-time high on three of the previous four trading days as investors become more optimistic about the economy after an unexpectedly strong jobs report on Friday.
"The market looks tired to us," said Jim Russell, a regional investment director at US Bank. "A little bit of a pause is actually healthy and would take just a little bit of a momentum out of the market."
Stocks have climbed this year as the Federal Reserve has kept up its $85 billion-a-month of bond purchases to keep interest rates low and boost the economy. Now investors may start focusing more on an improving economy rather than the future of economic stimulus, said Joe Quinlan, chief market strategist for U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management.
"It's not going to be gangbusters, but this economy is getting a head of steam as we go into 2014," Quinlan said.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,735 as of 12:52 p.m. Eastern time. The S&P 500 index was down seven points, or 0.4 percent, at 1,764. The Nasdaq composite fell 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,907.
Eight of the 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 index fell, and two stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.
Utility stocks dropped the most, led by NRG Energy, which fell 96 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $27.07. News Corp. fell 38 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $17.04.
In U.S. government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.78 percent from 2.75 percent Friday. The bond market was closed Monday for the Veterans Day holiday.
In commodities trading, the price of oil fell 98 cents, or 1 percent, to $94.15 a barrel. The price of gold dropped $5.70, or 0.4 percent, to $1,275.40 an ounce.
Among other stocks making big moves:
— Dean Foods, a major milk producer, dropped $1.57, or 8 percent, to $18.14 after cutting its profit forecast.
— JetBlue rose 46 cents, or 6 percent, to $8.17 after the government said it had reached a settlement with US Airways and American Airlines. Southwest Airlines rose 40 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $18.21. American and US Airways will have to give up take up and landing slots at major airports as part of the deal.
— Dish Network climbed $2.33, or 4.8 percent, to $49.79 after the satellite television provider returned to profitability in the third quarter, beating analysts' expectations.
— D.R. Horton rose 30 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $18.42 after the home builder said that its net income rose 39 percent for its fiscal fourth quarter.