A rally that pushed stocks up nearly 7 percent in December took a pause Tuesday as traders shrugged off a pickup in factory orders and a sharp rise in monthly sales from General Motors and Ford.
Stock indexes started out with gains but mostly fell throughout the day, even after a better-than-expected report on factory orders for November. The Dow Jones industrial average of 30 large company shares wound up slightly higher.
Ryan Detrick, a senior analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, said investors were holding off after a sharp jump in stocks on Monday, the first trading day of 2011. "We had a big start to the year yesterday," Detrick said.
The Dow rose 20.43 points, or 0.2 percent, to end the day at 11,691.18. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index dipped 1.69 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 1,270.20. The Nasdaq lost 10.27 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,681.25.
Nearly two stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was 1.1 billion shares.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 3.33 percent from 3.34 percent Monday.- AP