NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The major market averages edged higher Tuesday, weighed by blue-chip technology stocks, after investors digested auto sales figures and commodities made sharp gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher by 2 points, or 0.02%, to 10,406. The S&P 500 gained 3 points, or 0.2%, to 1118 and the Nasdaq finished higher by 7 points, or 0.3%, to 2281.
Stocks traded in the green for much of the session, but investors took profits late in the afternoon. Big tech names, including Microsoft (MSFT), Intel (INTC), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and IBM (IBM), dragged on the Dow more than stocks in most other sectors by the end of the day.Market observers took in a range of car sales numbers throughout the day. Overall industry sales landed in-line with expectations, coming to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 10.38 million units, according to Autodata. General Motors said February U.S. auto sales rose 11.5% year over year. The company also said it would recall 1.3 million cars to fix a power-steering problem and earlier in the session announced it would triple funding for the turnaround of its Opel and Vauxhall divisions in Europe to 1.9 billion euros ($2.57 billion). Shares of Ford (F) slipped 19 cents, or 1.5%, to $12.22 by the closing bell. Still, the automaker surpassed GM on a 43% surge in February sales. Snowstorms and recalls hurt Toyota (TM) sales, which slid 9%. But Toyota shares added 78 cents, or 1.1%, to $74.42. Elsewhere, Honda (HMC) shares slipped 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $34.87 and Daimler AG (DAI) advanced by 57 cents, or 1.3%, to $42.96 after each reported improving February sales. The dollar turned lower against a basket of currencies in the afternoon, with the dollar index down by 0.2%. In commodities markets, crude oil for April delivery traded 98 cents higher to settle at $79.68 a barrel, and the April gold contract gained $19.10 to settle at $1,137.40 an ounce. The upbeat commodity moves likely lent a hand to material and energy stocks, as the Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index and the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index improved 2.4% and 1.4%, respectively.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV