The S&P 500 added 0.06%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.18%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.3%.
Verizon climbed more than 1% after beating earnings and sales estimates in its third quarter. The telecom giant earned $1.04 a share, 2 cents above estimates, while revenue jumped 5% to $33.16 billion. Increased revenue was driven by growth in Fios and Verizon's wireless business.
IBM shares fell 4.6% after the company reported a sharp decline in quarterly sales and reduced its full-year profit guidance. The tech giant reported a 14% drop in sales in its third quarter, missing analysts' estimates. IBM said it expects full-year net income of $14.75 to $15.75 a share, down from previous guidance of $15.75 to $16.50.
Other companies reporting on Tuesday included Travelers (TRV - Get Report) which released a better-than-expected third-quarter report. Net income of $2.97 a share beat estimates by 70 cents, while revenue jumped 2.7% to $6.19 billion.
Harley-Davidson (HOG - Get Report) fell more than 7% after a disappointing quarter and reduced full-year forecasts. The motorcycle manufacturer expects to ship 265,000 to 270,000 units for the full year, down from at least 276,000, as it faces an increasingly competitive environment. Third-quarter net income of 69 cents a share was flat from a year earlier and missed estimates by 9 cents. Harley-Davidson said it would cut jobs as a result of weakened demand, though declined to detail the extent of layoffs.
Sonic Restaurants (SONC) added nearly 5% after same-store sales in its fourth quarter increased 7.3%, a significant increase in growth from a 6.1% increase last quarter. Quarterly profit of 43 cents a share beat estimates by a penny.
United Technologies (UTX - Get Report) added 2% after announcing a $12 billion share buyback program and a better-than-expected third quarter. Net income of $1.67 a share bested estimates of $1.55. However, revenue came in short estimates as currency exchange ate into the topline and amid engine-delivery delays over the quarter.
United Airlines (UAL - Get Report) named Brett Hart, general counsel, as its acting CEO while CEO Oscar Munoz recovers from a heart attack. Munoz was hospitalized late last week and his expected recovery time has not been disclosed.
In deals news, SanDisk (SNDK) jumped more than 7% on reports it is in advanced talks to sell itself to Western Digital (WDC - Get Report) . A deal could be announced as soon as this week, according to Bloomberg. Previous reports noted that SanDisk had been in deal talks with both Western Digital and Micron Technology.
Team Health Holdings (TMH) jumped 20% after receiving, and rejecting, a $5 billion bid from AmSurg (AMSG) . The cash-and-stock offer valued the healthcare provider at $71.47 a share, a significant premium to Monday's close of $52.50 a share.
Yum! Brands (YUM - Get Report) jumped 5% after it said Tuesday it would separate its Chinese and U.S. businesses after several quarters of declining sales overseas. Chinese revenue has taken a big hit after a food scandal mired KFC's suppliers last year. Activist investor and board member Keith Meister believes a spin-off could be worth $7 billion, Bloomberg reports.
Fresh Market (TFM) climbed 4% after trading resumed following a brief halt. Trading had been paused as the company announced it was conducting a strategic review of its business, including a potential sale. The grocery chain has hired JPMorgan as its financial adviser.
Housing starts were a bright spot on Tuesday. Construction on new homes in the U.S. climbed 6.5% to 1.21 million in September, returning to June's level at an eight-year high. Economists had expected September starts to total 1.14 million.
"The September starts report suggests that the U.S. housing recovery might be regaining its footing, after the brief relapse during the summer months," Millan Mulraine, deputy chief U.S. macro strategist at TD Securities, wrote in a note. "Moreover, the strong performance in September should provide a modest lift to overall economic activity."