US stocks finished modestly lower Tuesday as cautious sentiment about earnings season offset major deals involving FedEx and Informatica.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 5.43 points (0.03 percent) to 17,875.42.
The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 4.29 (0.21 percent) to 2,076.33, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 7.08 (0.14 percent) at 4,910.23.
Delivery service company FedEx rose 2.7 percent as it announced it would buy Dutch rival TNT Express for 4.4 billion euros ($4.8 billion).
Tech company Informatica surged 4.3 percent after it announced it would be acquired by a company controlled by private-equity firm Permira and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board for about $5.3 billion.
But investors are edgy ahead of what is expected to be a tepid earnings season. On Wednesday after the market closes, Alcoa will be the first major company to report.
Analysts expect earnings from S&P 500 companies fell 3.0 percent in the first quarter, according to S&P Capital IQ. That would be the first quarter with a decline since the third quarter of 2009.
Entertainment giant Viacom, which owns Paramount studios in Hollywood and a range of television channels including MTV and Comedy Central, fell 2.0 percent following its announcement that it will take a $785 million charge to write down underperforming programming and cover the costs associated with layoffs.
General Motors fell 2.5 percent on news that the Canadian government will sell its holdings in the US carmaker. The government said that the sale of its 73.4 million GM shares will be completed by April 10.
Axalta Coating Systems jumped 9.8 percent on news that an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway will buy 20 million shares of the company for $560 million.
Twitter gained 4.0 percent on rumors the social media company could be acquired. 24/7 Wall Street cautioned that Twitter has been mentioned as a buyout target before and that the company's lofty valuation could dissuade many buyers.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 1.89 percent from 1.90 percent Monday, while the 30-year dropped to 2.52 percent from 2.56 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.