NEW YORK — U.S. stocks wavered Tuesday as big companies turned in a mixed batch of earnings results. Markets in Asia surged on optimism over recent reforms in China.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 48 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,986 as of 11:31 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose two points, less than 0.1 percent, to 2,102, and the Nasdaq composite climbed 26 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,021.
TAKING IT ALL IN: "It seems the market is in a holding pattern as investors are waiting to see just how much the dollar impacts corporate earnings," said Russell Price, Ameriprise Financial's senior economist. "So far, things are a bit better than expected, but we'll see how it plays out."
WEAKNESS IN STRENGTH: The strong dollar has been a drag on corporate profits in two ways: It makes goods produced in the U.S. more expensive to foreign customers, and it diminishes the value of revenue collected in foreign currencies when U.S. corporations bring the money home. The rising dollar is a key reason analysts expect first-quarter corporate earnings will fall 2.4 percent, according to S&P Capital IQ.
CLEANING UP: Kimberly-Clark jumped 4 percent, the biggest gain in the S&P 500. The maker of Huggies diapers and paper products reported income and revenue that easily beat analysts' forecasts. Its stock surged $4.72 to $112.07.
GENERIC DEALS: Teva Pharmaceuticals proposed buying Mylan NV, another maker of generic drugs, for more than $40 billion in cash and stock. The offer depends on Mylan dropping its proposed acquisition of yet another drugmaker, Perrigo. Mylan's stock jumped $5.58, or 8 percent, to $73.65. Teva's rose $2.36, or 4 percent, to $65.64.
HOGS: Harley-Davidson turned in quarterly sales that fell short of analysts' targets, and the motorcycle maker also cut its full-year forecast for shipments, blaming price cuts by its rivals. The company's stock fell $5.26, or 9 percent, to $56.50.
OVER THERE: Major markets in Europe continued their recent climb. Germany's DAX rose 0.6 percent, while France's CAC-40 rose 0.2 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 inched up 0.3 percent.
HK BOUNCE: Hong Kong stocks rebounded as investors shook off pessimism over mainland China's regulatory changes for investors piling into the Hong Kong market. Over the weekend, a regulator said that new measures to encourage short-selling were not meant as a crackdown.
MARKET VIEW: Andrew Sullivan of Haitong Securities said Chinese authorities are using the new measures, especially the reserve ratio cut, to "encourage a longer, steadier rally."
ASIA'S DAY: Hong Kong's Hang Seng led a surge in Asian markets, jumping 2.8 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China added 1.8 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1.4 percent, while South Korea's Kospi lost 0.1 percent.
ENERGY: U.S. crude oil rose 23 cents to $56.61 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, an international benchmark, fell 39 cents to $63.05.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note up to 1.90 percent. The euro slipped to $1.0699 from $1.0741. The dollar rose to 119.68 yen from 119.31 yen.
AP Business Writer Kelvin Chan contributed to this story from Hong Kong.