NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It was another lazy day on Wall Street with stocks little changed after a day dipping and cresting the flatline.
Equities were caught between a crude oil selloff, mixed retail earnings, and signs of a recovering housing market.
The S&P 500 fell 0.06%, hovering just below records achieved on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.08% to 18,312, a new record close. The Nasdaq fell 0.17%.
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 closed 3.7% lower to $57.26 a barrel, its lowest settlement this month.
Retail earnings came in mixed. On the plus side, 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.
TJX (TJX) added 2.9% after posting earnings 69 cents a share in its first quarter, 2 cents higher than expected. Revenue of $6.9 billion increased 6.2%.
On the negative side, the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart (WMT), missed earnings and revenue estimates in its quarter, prompting shares to fall more than 4%. Comparable-store sales gained 1.1%, at the low end of guidance of 1% to 2%.
Urban Outfitters (URBN) slumped 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 5.1% 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.
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."
Yahoo! (YHOO) and Alibaba (BABA) moved erratically in the final minutes of trading. Yahoo! tumbled nearly 6%, while Alibaba jumped more than 1%. No news has been sourced as the reason for the market moves. Click here for more.
Medtronic (MDT) gained after issuing preliminary fourth-quarter results. The medical equipment developer said it expects profit at the upper half of its previous range of $1.08 to $1.13 a share. This marks the first quarter in which the results from its $43 billion acquisition of Covidien will be included.
Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) surged 18.3% 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.
European markets closed 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.