Stocks: Blue chips close below 11,000
WASHINGTON — Stocks ended a seesaw day mostly lower Tuesday as fears of rising instability in the financial sector kept investors on edge despite a steep retreat in oil. The Dow Jones industrial average notched its first close below 11,000 since July 2006.
Days after the government said it would aid Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac if necessary, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said the administration has no immediate plans to lend money to the mortgage giants or buy their stock.
Oil's retreat of $6.44 from near-record levels to $138.74 helped spark some buying.
The Dow fell 92.65, or 0.84 percent, to 10,962.54. The S&P 500 lost 13.39, or 1.09 percent, to 1,214.91. The Nasdaq composite index rose 2.84, or 0.13 percent, to 2,215.71.
Growing demand for rail drives CSX
NEW YORK — Freight railroad operator CSX said strong demand for export coal, grain and metals drove its second-quarter earnings up 19 percent to $385 million. Revenue rose 15 percent to $2.9 billion.
Tenn. gets nod for VW's new factory
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Volkswagen picked Chattanooga on Tuesday for a new U.S. assembly plant expected to create about 2,000 jobs.
VW said it will produce a new midsize sedan for the North American market and invest $1 billion in the project. Sites in Alabama and Michigan also were considered. The plant is part of VW's strategy to increase its presence in America. The company closed its last U.S. production facility in 1988.
Earnings increase at SCBT Financial
COLUMBIA — SCBT Financial Corp., parent of South Carolina Bank and Trust, said its second-quarter earnings rose 10.4 percent, driven by strong loan growth.
Profits for the three months ended June 30 totaled $6.1 million, or 60 cents per share, compared with $5.6 million a year earlier, also 60 cents per share on a smaller number of shares outstanding.
Bernanke sounds inflation warning
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Tuesday the fragile economy is facing "numerous difficulties." At the same time, he sounded another warning that rising prices for energy and food are elevating inflation risks.
The situation, he said, poses "significant challenges" for policymakers as they try to chart the best course for keeping the economy growing while making sure inflation doesn't flare up. Over the rest of this year, the economy will grow "appreciably below its trend rate," Bernanke said.