Stocks Kept in Check

Oil prices and tension with Iran keep traders from making big bets.
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Stocks were little changed Tuesday as investors held their ground ahead of a diplomatic showdown between Iran and the West.

Futures on the

S&P 500

were about 1 point above fair value, and the Nasdaq 100 was set for a fractionally lower open. The 10-year Treasury was unchanged in price, yielding 4.81%. The dollar was mixed against other currencies.

Oil for September delivery rose 21 cents to $72.66 a barrel on the last day the contract will trade. On Wednesday, the October contract will become the benchmark.

The energy markets will likely be in focus all day as

Bloomberg

reported that Iran's military attacked and took over a Romanian oil and gas rig in the Persian Gulf. Reports of the seizure come the same day Iran is planning to formally respond to a United Nations bid to get the country to stop enriching uranium. Tehran has repeatedly said it has no intention of stopping.

Back in the U.S., homebuilder

Toll Brothers

(TOL) - Get Report

hit its third-quarter targets but cut its full-year forecast to between $4.41 and $4.63 a share, down from its prior outlook of $4.69 to $5.16 a share.

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

has agreed to buy Arroyo Video Solutions, a maker of on-demand television software, for $92 million in cash. Arroyo, a closely held firm, has 44 workers in California and Utah.

On the research front, Lehman Brothers initiated coverage of

Schwab

(SCHW) - Get Report

at equal-weight and

Ameritrade

(AMTD) - Get Report

and

E*Trade

(ET) - Get Report

at overweight.

European bourses edged lower, but Asian stocks traded up. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.3%, and Frankfurt's Xetra DAX was off 0.1%. Tokyo's Nikkei added 1.3%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.8%.

To view Farnoosh Torabi's video take on today's market, click here

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