## UTC and localtime

I'm new here, so I don't quite know where I should post this. If this is not the proper forum, please excuse my ignorance.
I'm running openSuSE 11.1, and, no matter what I try, the times my system shows me for UTC and localtime are reversed. My TZ is America/New_York, but when I enter hwclock --utc, I get a time four hours before my local time, instead of four hours ahead. I can set UTC or set local time and the result is the same. I tried editing /etc/sysconfig/clock so that HWCLOCK is -u. Makes no difference. I tried HWCLOCK ="--localtime", same thing. If there is anyone out there who can tell me how to correct this, I'd appreciate it. I'm studying for my CompTIA Linux+ cert and don't want to skip section of my textbook without being able to correct the problem.
Thanks, Mike