Utilities led U.S. stock indexes mostly lower in late-afternoon trading Tuesday. Energy stocks were among the big decliners as the price of crude oil closed lower. Technology companies were up the most. Investors were sizing up the latest crop of company earnings and new data on home construction and industrial production.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,399 as of 3:16 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 7 points to 20,974. The Nasdaq composite index was up 11 points, or 0.2 percent, at 6,161. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit new highs on Monday.
THE QUOTE: "It's just a slow period right now with earnings season coming to an end, you just have retailers pulling in the rear this week," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. "Home-improvement and beauty retailers are really where the strength is within the retail sector, and of course, online."
SPRUCED UP: Home Depot topped expectations for profit and revenue in the first quarter. The home-improvement retailer also raised its profit outlook for the year. The stock gained $1.49, or 0.9 percent, to $158.82.
DIALED IN: Sina surged 18.4 percent after the online and mobile media services company's latest quarterly results beat Wall Street's forecasts, thanks partly to a sharp pickup in online advertising sales. The stock added $15.44 to $99.48.
CRAFTY: Etsy vaulted 22.6 percent after two private equity firms disclosed a combined 8 percent stake in the online crafts site. The stock climbed $2.56 to $13.88.
DEFLATED: Dick's Sporting Goods slumped 14.9 percent after the retailer reported quarterly results that missed analysts' expectations. The stock slid $7.10 to $40.47.
UNFASHIONABLE: The TJX Cos. fell 4.4 percent after the apparel and home fashions retailer's quarterly results fell short of Wall Street's forecasts. The stock lost $3.40 to $73.50.
DISAPPOINTING RESULTS: Staples slid 4.5 percent after the office supply chain reported revenue for the latest quarter that fell far short of what Wall Street analysts were expecting. The stock lost 42 cents to $8.90.
ECONOMIC DATA: The Commerce Department said residential construction fell for a second straight month in April, pushing activity to the lowest point in five months. Housing starts slid 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units. The weakness was led by a big drop in construction of apartments, a volatile sector. Separately, the Federal Reserve said that industrial production at U.S. factories, mines and utilities shot up 1 percent in April from March. That's the biggest gain since February 2014 and the third straight monthly gain. The increase was more than twice what economists had expected.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 19 cents to close at $48.66 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 17 cents to settle at $51.65 a barrel in London. Natural gas fell 12 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $3.23 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil rose 1 cent to $1.52 per gallon, while wholesale gasoline added 1 cent to $1.60 per gallon.
METALS: The price of gold rose $6.40 to settle at $1,236.40 per ounce. Silver added 13 cents to $16.69 per ounce. Copper gained 1 cent to $2.55 per pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 113.03 yen from Monday's 113.68 yen. The euro gained to $1.1094 from $1.0978.
TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.33 percent.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was flat, while France's CAC-40 was down 0.2 percent. London's FTSE 100 rose 0.9 percent. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 percent and Seoul's Kospi added 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.1 percent.