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In company news, Kenneth Lay, the former Enron chief executive who was convicted in May of criminal fraud and conspiracy, has died.
Traders digested the previous session's rousing gains.
Among stocks, the Dow got some support from component McDonald's.
Among stocks, Rambus was falling after news that it found discrepancies in its past stock option award dates.
The Conference Board said consumer confidence unexpectedly rose to a reading of 105.7 in June.
In one, Phelps Dodge will merge with Canadian miners Inco and Falconbridge.
The report is one of the last big economic releases before the Fed's two-day meeting in Washington next week.
After almost a year at the firm, John Mack is making good on his promise to lead a turnaround.
Stocks posted solid gains following strong quarterly results from Morgan Stanley and FedEx.
U.S. housing starts rose 5%, greater than an expected 1.1% gain.