SLOVAKIA JITTERS: Indexes ended mixed after investors spent the day waiting to see if Slovakia would block an expansion of Europe's financial rescue program. Slovakia voted "no" on a bill to strengthen a regional rescue fund shortly after U.S. markets closed.
ALCOA'S AFTER-MARKET SLUMP: Aluminum maker Alcoa Inc. plunged 5.6 percent in after-hours trading after it reported earnings that fell from the previous quarter, suggesting demand from Europe has slowed.
CALM WATERS: The Dow bobbed up and down throughout the day. The index traded within a range of only 82 points, the narrowest since July 20.