NEW YORK (AP) — Major stock indexes dipped Tuesday as weak readings on consumer confidence gave investors little reason to extend the recent rally.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 43.90 points to close at 13,197.73, a loss of 0.3 percent. Bank of America fell 3.3 percent, the biggest drop in the Dow, after an analyst downgraded the stock.
Major indexes opened higher, then pulled back after 10 a.m., when the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence slipped in March. Higher gas prices offset the surging stock market. Around the same time, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia reported that a measure of regional manufacturing plunged this month.
Other indexes edged lower. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 3.99 points to 1,412.52. The Nasdaq composite fell 2.22 points to 3,120.35.
More than four stocks fell for every three that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was well below average at 3.4 billion.
The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq are up more than 1 percent for the week. The S&P 500 has already gained 12.3 percent to start the year. That three-month surge easily beats the 8 percent return most fund managers hope to make in a whole year. The Nasdaq is up even more for the year, 19.8 percent.
Brian Gendreau, market strategist at Cetera Financial, said the stock market still has room to go higher even after such a strong start. Companies in the S&P 500 index are trading for around 13 times their expected earnings over the next year, below the average of 14.6 times over the past decade. And there's plenty of cash still tucked away in the Treasury market.
"Compared to bonds, stocks remain very attractive," Gendreau said. "That doesn't tell you if we'll get a move in a week or a month from now, but it does tell you that there's a lot of pent-up demand."
Earnings from Lennar Corp. pulled housing stocks up. The country's third-largest builder reported quarterly profits that beat analysts' estimates by delivering more houses and pulling in more orders. Lennar rose 4.7 percent, the best gain in the S&P 500 index. PulteGroup rose 3.6 percent, D.R. Horton 2.8 percent.
The economic reports on consumer confidence and regional manufacturing helped push up prices in the U.S. government debt market, where traders park funds when the economy looks sluggish. The 10-year Treasury note rose 53 cents for every $100 invested. The yield fell to 2.18 percent from 2.26 percent late Monday.
Demand for Treasurys has pulled yields down from highs reached last week. The yield on the 10-year note touched 2.4 percent last Tuesday, the highest yield since October.
Natural gas prices fell again Tuesday on rising supplies and warmer winter weather. Natural gas futures fell 1.8 cents to $2.21 per 1,000 cubic feet. That's near a 10-year low and half of what natural gas fetched back in July.
Any money that consumers are saving on natural gas could wind up in the gasoline tank. The national average for regular gasoline in the U.S. is $3.90 per gallon. It's risen 62 cents since Jan. 1.
Among stocks making big moves:
— Walgreen Co. rose 1.2 percent. The drugstore chain posted a drop in quarterly earnings but the results still topped analysts' expectations.
— Apollo Group Inc. fell 8.5 percent, the biggest drop in the S&P 500. The for-profit education company reported a profit in the most recent quarter but issued a dim forecast. Apollo expects fewer students to enroll in the coming quarter.
— Ista Pharmaceuticals Inc. leapt 7.8 percent on news that Bausch & Lomb plans to buy the drug maker for roughly $500 million in cash. Ista gets most of its revenue from Bromday, an eye drop for patients recovering from cataract surgery. Bausch & Lomb plans to pay $9.10 per share for Ista, a 72-cent premium over Monday's closing price. Bausch & Lomb is privately held.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
People across Indiana are bundling up against colder temperatures than parts of the state saw in either of the past two winters.
Tesla has opened two charging stations in northern Indiana, one of them at a hotel in Angola, as it works to establish a network of such stops across the country for its electric cars.
Members of an Indiana National Guard unit marched behind Santa Claus as they arrived at a ceremony welcoming them home after a 10-month deployment to Afghanistan.
Fort Wayne police are looking for a man who is suspected of robbing a local bar early Thursday morning.
Volunteer fire departments are monitoring what the Affordable Care Act could mean to them. Departments nationwide, and locally, are afraid they won't have the funds to pay for health benefits if they're required to due to the new health law.
The property manager at a Geneva apartment complex says a bed bug infestation has been all cleaned up, while some timid tenants and an outspoken protestor beg to differ.
The Hoosier Park horse track is looking to pull in more gamblers to its Fort Wayne off-track betting parlor. Leaders are strongly looking at New Haven for its new location.
Fourth and sixth graders at Leo Elementary School were given a survey intended to improve student life. Parents were not notified of the survey ahead of time, and said some questions were an invasion of privacy and home life.
The deaf community in South Africa says an interpreter for Nelson Mandela's memorial was a fake. A revelation that has caused an uproar worldwide.
Police arrested a man after he apparently sent threatening letters to a woman and to himself to throw police off track. Officials said he also set his own truck on fire.
The program provides free cab rides home to impaired drivers during the holiday season until January 1.
Police arrested two people after they went on a shopping spree using credit cards that were stolen from a woman at gunpoint in her parent’s driveway. Police were able to arrest the suspects within hours because the credit card companies told the victim where her cards were being used.
O'Donnell will be performing country music, inspirational ballads, pop hits and Irish standards at the Embassy Theatre, Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at 7 p.m.
Check out the photos viewers sent NewsChannel 15 of the snowfall on Wednesday.
A man who appeared to provide sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Wednesday.