NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. benchmark stock indices were rising slightly Tuesday as investors considered a jump in inflation numbers and worse-than-expected data on the U.S. housing market ahead of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting.
Fading concerns about the turmoil in Iraq and retreating oil prices, however, removed some of the downward pressure. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat to slightly lower at 16,775.94. The S&P 500 was up 0.04% to 1938.52. The Nasdaq rose 0.3% to 4,333.39.
Crude oil futures for July were down 25 cents to $106.65 a barrel. Over the weekend, the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) uploaded pictures and videos of it conducting mass executions of Iraqi soldiers. Phillip Futures investment analyst Howie Lee, like others, doesn't expect ISIS to really capture the Southern oil fields from their current bases in Northern Iraq since ISIS forces are relatively thin.
President Obama on Monday informed Congress that he would be sending as many as 275 military personnel to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Obama is also reportedly mulling the deployment of up to 100 special operations troops to the country to counsel its armed forces amid the clashes with Sunni Muslim insurgents.European markets staged a mild rebound Tuesday, partly in response to a slight reduction in oil prices and a hope that, for now, the renewed conflict in Iraq has been priced in. Confidence in the U.S. housing market recovery experienced a setback Tuesday following a greater-than-expected decline in May housing starts and building permits. Housing starts fell 6.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of just more than 1 million units in May. There was also a downward revision to an increase of 12.7% in housing starts in March. Building permits fell 6.4% to an annual pace of 991,000 last month. The Consumer Price Index increased at its fastest pace in more than a year for May, up 0.4% from the prior month. The mixed economic results could impact discussions on short-term interest rates as Federal Reserve officials begin their meeting Tuesday. Individual stocks to watch Tuesday include General Motors (GM), Apple (AAPL), Tesla (TSLA - Get Report), and Adobe Systems (ADBE - Get Report).
GM was down 0.61%. The company is recalling another 3 million cars because of a defect that causes a similar problem to one that led to an earlier massive recall of small cars, and is linked to 13 deaths. Apple shares were up 0.48% after reaching a settlement in a civil class-action lawsuit pertaining to the fixing of electronic-book prices. Tesla was higher by 0.62%. A bill that would allow electric car maker Tesla Motors to open four showrooms in New Jersey and sell directly to consumers in the state got Assembly approval Monday, according to reports. Adobe, the software maker, is forecast by Wall Street to report on Tuesday fiscal second-quarter profit of 30 cents a share on revenue of $1.03 billion. Shares were down 0.56% ahead of the report. U.S. stocks on Monday finished higher, though gains were constricted by escalating violence in Iraq. -- By Andrea Tse in New York June 17 Premarket Briefing: 10 Things You Should Know European Stocks Stage a Mild Rebound U.S. Markets Pull Ahead Though Geopolitical Threats Confine Gains