A look at highlights from the day's business news:
Stocks flounder as commodities shine
Stocks slumped while gold rallied to a record high Tuesday as investors continued to grapple with the Federal Reserve's latest effort to stimulate the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 60 points, or 0.5 percent, to end at 11,421. The S&P 500 shed 10 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,227. The Nasdaq slipped 17 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,593.
Bank of America led decliners on the Dow, while energy giant Exxon Mobil was the best performer on the index. Shares of other big banks also fell, with Citigroup and Morgan Stanley down more than 3 percent.
Meanwhile, gold prices surged to a record high for the second day in a row, while silver prices also jumped to fresh 30-year highs. Oil prices erased earlier gains to end slightly lower after the dollar regained ground in the currency market.
"Everything is really dictated by the dollar," said Ryan Larson, a senior equity trader at RBC Global Asset Management, noting that low trading volumes were adding to the market's lack of conviction. "The dollar is catching a bid and conversely we've seen the equity markets sell off modestly," he said.
Treasury yields rise after midday auction
Treasuries struggled to take direction in early trading Tuesday, before prices declined across the board as investors waded through the ripple effects of the Fed's bond-buying program.
Last week, the Fed announced it will purchase $600 billion of Treasuries by the second quarter of 2011.
Now, the market is "trapped" between the expectation of government debt purchases and foreign investors selling similar assets, said Kenneth Naehu, the managing director and head of fixed income at Bel Air Investment Advisors.
"Some of the players are a little squeamish on the question of whether foreign holders will be selling into this," Naehu said. "It's one thing for the Fed to be buying such a large amount, but another thing if foreigners in the secondary market use it to sell."
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note moved higher to 2.62 percent Tuesday, from its close of 2.55 percent on Monday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Yields for the 30-year bond increased to 4.24 percent, the two-year note was up to
0.45 percent, and the five-year note ticked up to 1.22 percent.
- CNNMoney.com reporters Ben Rooney and Charles Riley contributed to this report.