The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) was up in early trading, as high as 12,841, but it fell in the afternoon as unexpectedly weak new-home sales figures were reported for December.

Index

Change

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average -22.03 [-0.18%] 12,734
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) -7.6 [-0.57%] 1,318.45

The markets began falling after the Commerce Department announced at 10 a.m. that sales of new homes fell 0.2% in December. For 2011, new-home sales fell 6.2% to 302,000, the lowest level since data began being collected in 1963.

Earnings also played a role in the Dow's decline. AT&T (NYSE: T) was the biggest mover of the day, down 2.52% to $29.45, after it reported a $6.7 billion loss, or $1.12 per share. Analysts expected earnings of $0.42. Earnings were hit by the breakup fee with T-Mobile, iPhone subsidy expenses, asset impairments, and an actuarial loss on benefit plans. Revenue was $32.5 billion, slightly above analyst expectations of $32 billion.

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Dan Dzombak owns no shares of the companies mentioned here. Like his Facebook pageto follow his investing articles. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.