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Stocks Fluctuate, Nasdaq Rises in Earnings-Driven Choppiness

Stocks fluctuated by midday Tuesday as investors digested a wide swath of earnings reports.

The S&P 500 was down 0.09%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.25%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.1%. Benchmark indexes have bounced from positive to negative for much of the morning.

McDonald's (MCD) was a major drag on the Dow, falling 4.3% after same-store sales missed estimates in the second quarter. The world's largest fast food chain reported quarterly same-store sales growth of 3.1%, lower than an expected 3.6%. Second-quarter earnings of $1.25 a share fell 1% from a year earlier and missed consensus of $1.39.

Verizon (VZ) reported a drop in profit in its recent quarter as an April-May worker strike hit its bottom line. The telecom earned 17 cents a share, sharply lower than $1.04 a year earlier. Adjusted earnings of 94 cents a share came in 2 cents above estimates. Around 36,000 workers were on strike for seven weeks earlier in the year. The stock fell 1.7%.

Caterpillar (CAT) detailed more job cuts and a reduced second-half outlook as demand from the oil industry continues to wither. The machinery maker now expects to earn $3.55 a share, excluding restructuring costs, down from an already-reduced...