Stocks struggle higher after earnings, economic reports

"Here we have a best-in-class sort of company reporting outstanding results," said Craig Peckham, an analyst with Jefferies & Co. "The earnings reports we get in the financial sector from here on out quite honestly are coming from companies that just don't have the same kind of cache."

Later this week, investors will get reports from other high-profile banking companies JPMorgan Chase JPM, Bank of AmericaBAC and CitigroupC.

Investors will be looking at earnings for signs that the banking sector has stabilized after last fall's near collapse. In a sign that the sector has not fully recovered, CIT GroupCIT, a lender to small and midsize business, is talking with the government about receiving emergency assistance to help solve liquidity problems.

Aside from Goldman and J&J, investors will get quarterly results later Tuesday from chipmaker IntelINTC and fast-food restaurant operator Yum Brands YUM.

There were mixed forecasts from several companies. Delldell warned late Monday that quarterly gross margins will fall below first-quarter levels due to higher component costs and pressure to keep prices low.

Railroad operator CSX csx said it expects shipping demand to sink by double-digits again this quarter, but not as drastically as the 21% decline in the second quarter.

The dollar fell against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

Oil prices reversed early gains and slipped 28 cents to $59.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average gained 2.3%. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.9%, Germany's DAX index rose 1.3%, and France's CAC-40 gained 1.0%.

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