Updated from 4:18 p.m. EDT
Stocks in New York closed slightly lower again Tuesday, as a session marked by wild swings through positive and negative territory ended on a down note.
After rising as much as 100 points earlier, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
lost 14.39 points, or 0.11%, to 13,337.66.
"Headwinds affecting the market continue to be energy prices and interest rates, as well as housing woes," said Michael Sheldon, chief investment strategist with Spencer Clarke LLC. "The more recent concern has been the problems in the subprime market and spillover into other sectors, and that's making investors very nervous."
was down 4.85 points, or 0.32%, at 1492.89, and the
was lower by 2.92 points, or 0.11%, at 2574.16.
Sheldon added that traders should keep an eye on the June lows for the market, which would be 1490 on the S&P 500, 13,259 on the Dow, and 2541 on the Nasdaq.
"If we move below those levels on a closing basis, we're likely to see a pick-up in selling among jittery investors," he said.
About 3.30 billion shares changed hands on the
New York Stock Exchange
, with decliners beating advancers by a 5-to-3 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 2.05 billion shares, and losers outpaced winners 8 to 7.
Lower energy prices tempered the pullback, as traders turned their attention away from the Nigerian strike to questions involving Venezuelan production. Crude ended down $1.41 to $67.77 a barrel, and gasoline lost 5 cents to $2.25 a gallon.
Earlier, the Commerce Department said new-home sales fell 1.6% last month to an annual rate of 915,000 units, below economists' expectations. A hefty downward revision was made to April's figure, which was changed to 930,000 units from 981,000.
In other negative news on the housing front, the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index showed that prices in 10 major U.S. cities fell 2.7% in April, while homebuilder
reported an unexpected loss for its recent quarter.
The news comes a day after the National Association of Realtors said existing-home sales for May fell slightly to an annual pace of 5.99 million from a revised 6.01 million in April. The inventory of homes on the market reached a 15-year high.
Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics, said there is no evidence the housing market will recover anytime soon.
"We think the underlying rate of decline has slowed, but the direction of sales is still downwards," he said. "The supply problem may now be stabilizing, but it remains huge. The three-month average level of sales has bounced a bit in the past couple of months, but we doubt this marks the start of any sustained recovery."
The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index was lower by 2%. Among individual names,
slid 3.1%, and
Elsewhere on the economic docket, the Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell to a reading of 103.9 in June from 108.0 last month. The latest reading was a 10-month low for the index. Economists had expected a slight decline to 106.0.
Government bond prices eased after the day's economic releases. The 10-year note was down 5/32 in price, yielding 5.10%, and the 30-year bond was off 8/32, yielding 5.21%. The dollar was losing ground against the world's major currencies.
The market's wobbliness came after a day of wild swings in the prior session. On Monday, stocks rallied in the first half of trading, but it all fell apart in the afternoon. The Dow, for a time up more than 100 points, surrendered its gains and closed with a loss of 8.21 points, or 0.06%, to 13,352.05.
The S&P 500 dropped 4.82 points, or 0.32%, to 1497.74, and the Nasdaq fell 11.88 points, or 0.46%, to 2577.08.
"Technically, the market took a big blow on Friday,
and Monday's snapback bounce proved to be little more than a trade and not a major market turn," said Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist with Cantor Fitzgerald. "Now we have to focus on what will make this decline accelerate. If we break below these levels, we could see acceleration to the downside."
Back on the corporate side, Lennar tumbled 3.1% after the builder said it lost $244.2 million, or $1.55 a share, for the quarter ended May 31, reversing a profit of $324.7 million, or $2 a share, in the year-earlier period. The latest quarter includes a charge of $1.33 a share. Revenue slumped 37%, and the company also forecast a loss for the third quarter.
could be closer to being taken over, as it's believed to be near a deal with
that would be aimed at ensuring its editorial operations have certain guarantees under any acquisition. Dow Jones rose 2.2% to $58.77, while News Corp. closed down 0.8% to $23.31.
expects to record a charge of $325 million in the second quarter as part of its plan to improve global cigarette production, which will include moving some output overseas. Altria added 88 cents, or 1.3%, to $69.63.
were lower after the retailer said it expects June comp sales to be near the lower end of its previous forecast of a gain of 3% to 5%. Target lost $1.25, or 2%, to close at $62.91.
Among metals, gold dropped $9.40 to $645.30 an ounce, and silver ended down 59 cents to $12.41.
Overnight in Asia, markets were slightly weaker. Tokyo's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng each shed 0.1%. As for Europe, London's FTSE slipped 0.4%, and Frankfurt's DAX gave back 0.9%.
Wednesday will feature earnings from retailer
Bed Bath & Beyond
and food giant