NEW YORK: US stocks ended an up-and-down day mostly lower on Tuesday as investors watched a Washington budget debate as the deadline for funding the government looms.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 66.79 points (0.43 percent) to 15,334.59. The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 4.42 points (0.26 percent) to 1,697.42, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 2.97 points (0.08 percent) to 3,768.25.
Investors are anxious amid a fierce bipartisan battle in Congress over funding the government for the fiscal year that begins October 1.
Failure to approve funding could force parts of the government to shut down.
Economic data was mixed. The Conference Board reported consumer confidence fell in September. The Case-Shiller report on US home prices showed prices rose in July, but at a slower pace.
Financial equities were sharp decliners. Two of the Dow's newest components, Goldman Sachs and Visa, tumbled 1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
Citigroup dropped 1.2 percent and Wells Fargo shed 1.4 percent.
JPMorgan Chase, a Dow component, fell a hefty 2.2 percent amid regulatory woes. The bank has offered to pay about US$3 billion to settle several pending probes, the Wall Street Journal reported online.
Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry lost 3.3 percent one day after announcing a proposedUS $4.7 billion buyout by a consortium planning to take the struggling firm private.
Applied Materials, which makes tools to produce semiconductors and displays, surged 9.1 percent after announcing a plan to merge with Tokyo Electron to create a new firm worth US$29 billion.
Homebuilder Lennar rose 4.3 percent after earnings came in at 54 cents per share, nine cents above expectations. The company said the long-term outlook "remains extremely bright."
KB Home, another homebuilder, tacked on 4.3 percent after earnings bested expectations by nine cents at 30 cents per share.
Red Hat, a developer of cloud computing systems and other technologies, sank 11.7 percent after earnings narrowly bested expectations, but billings fell short of the level expected by some analysts. Deutsche Bank said it was "cautious" on the company "as momentum slows" to "the lowest in 17 quarters." -- AFP