NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's one of those days when not much can buoy the markets -- not surprisingly strong car sales figures nor a climb in factory orders nor further support for monetary easing out of the European Central Bank. The markets ignored the normal rally incentives on Tuesday and dipped below record levels set over a May rally.
By market close, the Dow was down 0.13% to 16,722.34, the S&P 500 slid 0.04% to 1,924.24, and the Nasdaq dropped 0.07% to 4,234.08. The three indices pared losses achieved earlier in the day to end only moderately lower.
May proved a positive month for U.S. automakers, none more of a surprise than General Motors (GM), which saw car sales increase 13%, its best month since August 2008. The gains were in spite of negative publicity surrounding a total 13.6 million unit recall since the beginning of the year, in part tied to a defective ignition switch. GM shares rose 1.1% to $35.26.
U.S. factory orders, expected to slow to 0.5% growth, climbed 0.7% in April. However, that growth was in comparison to a strong 1.5% increase in March and 1.7% gain in February.
Pulling the Nasdaq lower, heavyweight Google (GOOGL) saw losses of 1.7% to $554.57 on lower-than-normal daily volume.
Some of the biggest losers included Quiksilver (ZQK) and Krispy Kreme (KKD), both of which were pummeled following quarterly earnings reports after the bell a day earlier. Quiksilver closed 41.1% lower after reporting net losses 13 cents wider than expected at 15 cents a share.
Meanwhile, Krispy Kreme tumbled 14.8% after management slashed full-year guidance to 69 cents to 75 cents a share, gapping from analysts' estimates of 78 cents.
Hillshire Brands (HSH) was rallying yet again as the tug-of-war over it continues. The food processor was up 9.5% after Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) upped its bid to $55 a share, or $7.7 billion, from $45 a share, or $6.4 billion, offered a week earlier.
European markets closed their session lower while the euro strengthened on the latest consumer price index data which slowed to 0.5% in May, sparking concerns of deflation. The deceleration also gives the European Central Bank room to engage in monetary easing and to edge inflation higher to a target 2% when it meets on Thursday.
-- Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.