Business

US stocks mostly lower; Nasdaq notches new high

A subdued day of trading on Wall Street ended Tuesday with stocks closing mostly lower even as the Nasdaq composite notched another record high.

Utilities, phone companies, and other high-dividend stocks were among the biggest decliners. Energy stocks also fell, along with a drop in the price of crude oil. Technology companies climbed the most. Financials eked out a small gain.

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Investors sized up the latest company earnings and new data on home construction and industrial production.

‘‘The economic data that we’ve seen today is sort of what we’ve seen the last few weeks, some good, some bad,’’ said Jim Davis, regional investment strategist at the Private Client Group at US Bank.

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 0.1 percent, to 2,400.67. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 0.01 percent, to 20,979.75. The Nasdaq gained 0.3 percent, to 6,169.87. The tech-heavy index and the S&P 500 each hit new highs Monday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks rose 0.1 percent, to 1,394.68.

Stock indexes spent much of the day trading in a narrow range, wavering between small gains and losses.

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The Federal Reserve provided some positive economic news, reporting that industrial production at US factories, mines, and utilities rose 1 percent in April from March — the biggest gain since February 2014 and the third straight monthly gain. The increase was more than twice what economists had expected.

A report on residential construction was less encouraging.

The Commerce Department said home construction fell for a second straight month in April, marking the slowest pace in five months. Housing starts slid 2.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units. The weakness was led by a big drop in construction of apartments, a volatile sector.

While disappointing, the report didn’t appear to weigh much on the market. Most home builders closed higher, led by LGI Homes, which rose 3.9 percent.

Home Depot got a small boost after topping expectations for profit and revenue in the first quarter. The stock gained 0.6 percent.

Online and mobile media services company Sina jumped 17.8 percent.

Several companies that delivered disappointing results fell sharply.

Dick’s Sporting Goods slumped 13.7 percent, while apparel and home fashions retailer TJX Cos. slid 4.1 percent. Staples gave up 3.5 percent after revenue fell far short of what analysts were expecting.

News that two private equity firms disclosed a combined 8 percent stake in Etsy sent shares in the online crafts site 21.3 percent higher.

Advanced Micro Devices was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, surging 11.7 percent.

Energy prices declined Tuesday, giving back some of the gains from a day earlier. Benchmark US crude slipped 19 cents to $48.66 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 17 cents to $51.65.

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