8:50am (EST)

The bulls started Monday off with a strong showing but the market lost its momentum in late trading after reports swirled Moody’s (MCO, $27.90, up $0.18) might cut U.S. credit ratings.  As a result, the dollar gained 0.8% and the news sent treasury prices tumbling as 10-year yields hit a three-month high.   

The Dow managed to finish in the green as it gained nearly 10 points to close at 11,201.  The index traded to a high of 11,280 (up 88) but gave back nearly all of its winnings by the bell.  The close above 11,200 was nice but not convincing.

The S&P 500 plowed past 1,200 and traded up to 1,207 before giving back a little over a point to settle at 1,197.  There is support in the 1,170-1,175 area and short-term resistance will be at 1,220.

The Nasdaq slipped 4 points to finish at 2,513 but closed just below its 20-day moving average for the first time since the beginning of September.   

The Financial sector was showing some decent gains at one point yesterday (up 1.6%) but they finished mixed.  Citigroup (C, $4.32, up $0.03), JPMorgan (JPM, $40.08, up $0.47), Goldman Sachs (GS, $167.22, up $1.39), and Wells Fargo (WFC, $27.65, up $0.11) ended the day with pops, while Bank of America (BAC, $12.10, down $0.02) (a stock we still can’t trust), MasterCard (MA, $242.93, down $0.24) and Visa (V, $76.36, down $0.58) closed with drops.

Turning to earnings, Wal-Mart (WMT, $53.95, down $0.18) reported a profit of $3.44 billion, or $0.95 a share, versus $3.15 billion, or $0.82 a share, in the year ago quarter.  Revenue topped $101 billion.  Wall Street had forecast earnings of $0.90 a share, on revenue of $102 billion. 

Looking forward, Wal-Mart said it now expects 2011 earnings of $4.08-$4.12 a share, up from a previous forecast of $3.95- $4.05 a share.  Analysts were expecting a profit of $4.02 a share for next year.

Shares are trading above $54 in pre-market action. 

As we head to press, Dow futures are down 44 points to 11,129 while the S&P 500 futures are lower by 4 points to 1,192.  The Nasdaq 100 futures are off by 12 points to 2,116.

We have a lot to cover in the Members Area so let’s get to it.  Subscribers, check for the current trade updates.