Updated from 4:05 p.m. EST
U.S. stocks were stuck near the flat line for another session Tuesday as investors failed to find any catalysts to drive the action.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
was up 4.57 points, or 0.04%, at 12,666.31, and the
rose 1.01 points, or 0.07%, to 1448. The
added 0.89 point, or 0.04%, to 2471.49.
The market also struggled for traction on Monday, and the Dow tacked on just 8.25 points, or 0.07%, to 12,661.74, while the Nasdaq slipped 5.28 points, or 0.21%, at 2470.60.
"The overriding question for investors is whether this is a consolidation before further gains or a topping process that may lead to a long overdue period of profit-taking," said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist with Spencer Clarke LLC.
On the Dow,
was the best performer, rising 2.2%. However, that gain was offset by
, which fell by 1.9%.
was one of the worst performers on the Nasdaq, falling 5.2%. On the other hand,
Roughly 2.11 billion shares changed hands on the
New York Stock Exchange
. Advancers beat decliners by a 5-to-3 margin. Volume on the Nasdaq topped 2.14 billion shares, with winners outpacing losers 8 to 7.
As the economic calendar is light this week, investors were hoping to find more clues about the health of the economy in several speeches from
officials. All three speakers Tuesday, Chairman Ben Bernanke, San Francisco Fed President Janet Yellen, and Chicago Fed President Michael Moskow, provided no comments about the economy or interest rate policy.
Treasury prices were gaining ground after Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said that the U.S. economy is slowing to a more sustainable rate of growth. He made his comments during a speech to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The 10-year note was up 11/32 and yielding 4.76%. The 30-year bond rose 18/32 in price to yield 4.86%. The dollar strengthened against both the euro and the yen.
Commodities prices were mostly higher as a cold snap continued in the Northeast. Crude oil futures were up 14 cents to close at $58.88 a barrel, while natural gas slipped 2 cents to $7.61 per million British thermal units. Gold rose by $2.60 to $658.70 an ounce, and silver tacked on 11 cents to $13.67 an ounce.
Even though the busiest days of earnings season have passed, a few key names continue to stream in. One was
, who topped analysts' first-quarter profit expectations and guided in line for the second quarter. Revenue for the quarter rose to $10.33 billion from $9.6 billion a year earlier and exceeded estimates. Tyco lost 62 cents, or 1.9%, to close at $32.59.
Following the prior close,
cut its fiscal third-quarter sales guidance, saying revenue will drop 14% to 15% from $501.6 million in the second quarter. The chipmaker had previously forecast a decline of 8% to 11%. The stock shed 64 cents, or 2.7%, to $22.68.
, lower energy prices and a drop-off in production led to a 22% decline in fourth-quarter earnings to $2.9 billion. BP slid 54 cents, or 0.9%, to $63.25.
After the close,
reported better-than-expected profits.
made headlines again after the world's largest retailer said it is launching a beta version of its own video download service.
On Monday, the stock rose nearly 1% after Wal-Mart said that January same-store sales rose 2.2%, higher than the retailer's prior forecast of a 1% to 2% gain. Wal-Mart added 6 cents, or 0.1%, at $48.58.
Overseas, London's FTSE rose 0.5% at 6346, and Frankfurt's Xetra DAX tacked on 0.1% at 6876. Tokyo's Nikkei climbed 0.4% overnight to 17,406, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1% to 20,655.