Stocks Eke Out Gains

The major indices reverse Monday's minor pullback.
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Updated from 4:20 p.m. EDT

Stocks in New York, coming off their first decline since early last week, struggled to find their footing Tuesday but ultimately did close slightly to the upside.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

rose 22.44 points, or 0.16%, to 13,635.42. The index benefited from a 3.2% increase in

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

, which put the stock at a five-year high.

The

S&P 500

was up 2.65 points, or 0.17%, at 1533.70, and the

Nasdaq

tacked on 0.16 point, or 0.01%, to 2626.76.

"We're consolidating close to the highs of last week, but volume has been light and volatility has been low," said Phillip Roth, chief technical market analyst with Miller Tabak. "There's not a lot of upside, but it's not over. There is typical laggard stock participation, including General Electric today, showing that investors are still out there hunting."

About 2.71 billion shares changed hands on the

New York Stock Exchange

, with advancers beating decliners by a 6-to-5 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq reached 1.89 billion shares, and winners outpaced losers 8 to 7.

On Monday, the U.S. market took a break from the three-session surge that ended last week, edging lower as oil again became part of the equation with a climb past $69 a barrel.

The Dow slipped 26.50 points, or 0.19%, to 13,612.98, and the S&P 500 lost 1.86 points, or 0.12%, at 1531.05. The Nasdaq was fractionally weaker at 2626.60.

Crude prices inched even higher in the new session amid more violence in Nigeria, which hurts the country's oil output. After trading lower, crude rebounded to add a penny and finish at $69.10. Gasoline, meanwhile, was lower by 2 cents at $2.23 a gallon.

Long-term Treasuries, which also have been a main focus for traders, rallied. The 10-year note was up 13/32 in price, yielding 5.08%, and the 30-year bond was higher by 26/32, yielding 5.19%.

In the week's first economic release, the Census Bureau said U.S. housing starts fell a greater-than-expected 2.1% in May to 1.47 million annualized units. On average, economists were looking for new construction to total 1.48 million units.

The report did have a silver lining, as building permits rose 3% to 1.50 million last month, above the anticipated 1.48 million annual pace.

Still, Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics, said there was little solace in the housing report.

"The downward trend remains firmly in place, and there is no prospect of any near-term relief, given the huge inventory overhang in the new-home market," Shepherdson said. "Both starts and permits were supported by increases in the multifamily home sector, which tends to be much more volatile than the single-family numbers."

On the corporate side,

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

said after the prior session's close that Terry Semel is stepping down as CEO and giving up the post to co-founder Jerry Yang. Still, that wasn't enough for Deutsche Bank, which cut its price target on the stock to $26 from $28. Yahoo! shares ended the day lower by 49 cents, or 1.7%, to $27.63.

Best Buy

(BBY) - Get Report

lost ground after the electronics seller posted first-quarter earnings of $192 million, or 39 cents a share, down 18% from a year ago. Results fell short of the Thomson First Call target of 49 cents a share, and the retailer cut its profit outlook for the year. Best Buy fell $2.83, or 5.9%, to $45.18.

On the flip side, shares of

Expedia

(EXPE) - Get Report

surged after the Internet travel company said it would buy back $3.5 billion of its own stock. The shares jumped $3.64, or 14.3%, to end the day at $29.14.

Elsewhere,

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

and

Time Warner

(TWX)

received buy ratings at Bank of America, while the firm gave

Viacom

(VIA.B)

and

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

neutral ratings.

News Corp. added 0.3% to $23.68, and Time Warner rose 1.7% to $21.24. Viacom tacked on 0.2% to $42.94, and Disney finished up 0.6% to $34.76.

Overseas in Asia, the Tokyo Nikkei advanced 0.1%. In Europe, London's FTSE was 0.3% lower, and Frankfurt's DAX was worse by 0.8%.