U.S. indices were struggling Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq eking out gains of 0.2% and 0.1% respectively, while the S&P 500 remained in the red midday down 0.1%.
Falling crude prices are helping depress markets with the commodity falling sharply in the Tuesday session. West Texas futures contracts were down $1.71 to $36.79 per barrel, while industry standard Brent crude contracts for May delivery decline $1.23 to $39.16 per barrel.
Today's movement comes ahead of the Federal Reserve chair press conference scheduled for Wednesday. Investors will be watching to see if the central bank plans to raise interest rates in the near term, though few watchers believe that the Fed will take that step this week.
The last throws of the first-quarter earnings season continue today highlighted by the release of TravelCenters of America (TA) fourth-quarter results. The stock was dropping 17% midday after the truck stop operator posted a net loss of $0.04 per share, widely missing analysts' $0.02 EPS estimate. Revenue for the quarter also failed to meet expectations.
3D Systems (DDD) also reported its earnings today, but unlike TravelCenters the stock has ballooned 30% after topping analysts' top- and bottom-ine expectations. The 3-D printing company blew away Wall Street expectations, with EPS of $0.19 vs. a consensus $0.03 forecast.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts (HOT) was spiking Monday after receiving an unsolicited acquisition bid from a consortium led by Chinese insurer Anbang valued at about $12.8 billion. Starwood already has a merger agreement valued at about $12.2 billion with Marriott International (MAR) in place.
Read more about Starwood's bids
Shares of Tesla Motors (TSLA) were showing life today after being upgraded to "Overweight" by analysts at Robert Baird. "Although we were concerned about the rate of Model X deliveries, recent data points show production is accelerating, which should drive deliveries and margin expansion," analysts said of the company after touring a factory.
Finally, The Fresh Market (TFM) was up more than 20% today after the company agreed to be acquired by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management (APO) for $1.36 billion. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter this year.