Stocks finished slightly lower Tuesday. The Dow fell 13 points to 25,820 while the S&P 500 slipped 3 points to 2,789. The Nasdaq Composite was off a point to 7,576.
The major averages toggled between gains and losses throughout the session as investors sifted through the latest economic updates. On the data front, a gauge of service sector activity from Markit came in at 56.0 in February, narrowly missing consensus estimates of 56.2. A separate reading from the Institute for Supply Management showed activity in the service sector expanded at a faster than anticipated pace in the prior month. An additional report revealed new home sales unexpectedly jumped to a seven month high in December while November’s sharp increase was revised downward.
There was very little sector dispersion today as strength in the Consumer Discretionary group helped offset broader weakness. Shares of Target added 4.6% to $76.00 while Kohl’s jumped 7.3% to $71.33 after both retailers posted earnings that topped analyst projections. Communication Services also outperformed as Facebook added 2.3% to $171.10 and Twitter advanced 1.7% to $31.03. In other corporate news, General Electric declined 4.7% to $9.89 after its CEO announced the company will have negative free-cash flow in 2019.
Breadth was negative on issues by 8:7 on the NYSE by 3:2 on the NASDAQ. Composite NYSE volume totaled more than 3.5 billion shares.
Treasuries were little changed, with the yield on the 10-year note falling one basis point to 2.72%. In commodities, NYMEX WTI crude fell 0.1% to $56.52/barrel. COMEX gold added 0.1% to $1288.60/ounce.