NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were narrowly mixed by late morning Tuesday as crude oil fell below $58 a barrel, retail earnings came in mixed, and the European Central Bank promised increased bond buying over the next two months.
The S&P 500 fell 0.03% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.04%. The Nasdaq fell 0.11%.
The energy sector was under pressure as oil prices declined. Crude was lower as the U.S. dollar spiked on the promise of increased quantitative easing in Europe and as the domestic housing recovery picked up steam. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2.7% to $57.81 a barrel.
Construction on new U.S. homes spiked 20.2% in April to a rate of 1.14 million, its fastest pace since late 2007. Economists had expected starts to increase to 1.03 million after a revised 944,000 increase in March.
"April housing starts and permits data came in considerably stronger than expected, offering some crucial counterbalance to generally weaker data flow over the past few weeks," said TD Securities' Gennadiy Goldberg. "The stronger starts and permits data suggests that some real gauges of economic activity may finally be starting to accelerate during the spring."
European markets were higher after European Central Bank executive board member Benoit Coeure said the body would increase purchases under its quantitative-easing program in May and June before an expected period of low liquidity in July and August. The central bank currently has bond purchases set at 60 billion euros a month.
The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart (WMT), missed earnings and revenue estimates in its quarter, prompting shares to fall more than 2%. Comparable-store sales gained 1.1%, at the low end of guidance of 1% to 2%.
Home Depot (HD) narrowly beat earnings forecasts, generating net income of $1.16 a share, which was a penny above estimates. Home Depot increased full-year earnings guidance to $5.24 to $5.27 a share from $5.11 to $5.17 a share.
Urban Outfitters (URBN) slumped nearly 15% after net income of 25 cents a share missed estimates by a nickel. Revenue climbed 7.7% to $739 million, below estimates of $757.58 million.
Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) fell 4.8% after reporting in-line earnings of 53 cents a share in the first quarter. Revenue climbed 9% to $1.57 billion, $10 million better than expected. Same-store sales rose 1%, below estimates, after Golf Galaxy stores reported an 11% decrease in comparable-store sales.
TJX (TJX) added 3.2% after posting earnings 69 cents a share in its first quarter, 2 cents higher than expected. Revenue of $6.9 billion increased 6.2%.
Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) surged 15.3% after quarterly profit doubled to 49 cents a share, better than analysts' estimates of 27 cents. Revenue jumped 54% to $300.1 million.
Apple (AAPL) shares were on watch after the company introduced a new 15-inch MacBook Pro model to its lineup. The tech giant also cut the price of its top-end iMac to $2,299.
Benchmark indexes notched new highs on Monday with the S&P 500 closing at a record 2,129 and the Dow at 18,298. Apple boosted markets after activist investor Carl Icahn said shares were priced at half their true value.