Stock remained stuck in neutral most of Tuesday as investors were awaiting an earnings report from Intel that many thought could help determine the relative health of the technology sector.
Intel posted second-quarter results after the close of trading.
The world’s largest chip maker reported a profit of US$1.8 billion, or 27 cents a share for the second quarter that ended June 26th, compared with a year-earlier profit of $896 million, or 14 cents a share.
Revenue rose to $8.05 billion from $6.82 billion in the same period last year.
Investors largely stayed on the sidelines ahead of the Intel report, which has been the subject of speculation for a week after a slew of technology company warnings raised questions about the strength of the recovery and whether the sector was already cooling off.
The Dow closed up 9.37 points to 10,247.59. The Nasdaq was off 5.26 points to close at 1,931.66. And the S&P 500 was up less than a point to 1,115.14. Volume was low across the board.
Trade Gap Narrows
The markets were not moved much by a surprising report from the Department of Commerce showing that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed in May, largely on the strength of stepped-up exports of U.S. goods.
The deficit for May came in at US$46 billion, below analyst expectations and the value of exports rose 3 percent for the month.
Weakness in the dollar was cited as a reason for the export boost, but economists said the extra demand for U.S. products could help drive second-quarter economic expansion.
Overall Economic Data
Still, overall economic data continues to paint a mixed picture, with retail sales for June sagging due to unseasonably cool weather in many parts of the country.
Some non-tech company earnings released Tuesday were upbeat, including a report from Johnson & Johnson, but were not enough to rally stocks out of the doldrums.
A new batch of economic data is due later this week, including the consumer confidence survey conducted by the University of Michigan, which is slated to be released Friday.
Oil prices did retreat some on Tuesday, a move attributed to profit-taking after crude hovered near $40 per barrel for several days on supply worries.