Stocks slipped on Tuesday after disappointing results from Dow component Procter & Gamble and some discouraging economic data, but robust earnings from drug giant Pfizer limited the market's decline.
Procter & Gamble Co
In contrast, Pfizer Inc
Shares of consumer products company P&G sank 3.7 percent to $59.78, while shares of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer rose 5.5 percent to $16.33.
The S&P Consumer Discretionary Sector <.GSPD> fell 1.4 percent after data showed consumer spending and incomes were unexpectedly flat in June, while personal savings rose to the highest level in a year.
This shows that spending is slowing down and its making us back off the retail space, said Tom Nyheim, portfolio manager at Christiana Bank & Trust Co in Greenville, Delaware.
It doesn't mean that we're going to slide into a double-dip, but it does mean we should expect growth to be slower than previously thought, he said.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 28.08 points, or 0.26 percent, at 10,646.30. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 4.56 points, or 0.41 percent, at 1,121.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 9.09 points, or 0.40 percent, at 2,286.27.
Analysts said the market was ripe for consolidation after Monday's 2 percent gain that built on a nearly 7 percent jump for July -- the best month in a year.
The S&P 500 held above its 200-day moving average of around 1,114, a potentially positive signal. But it was struggling to maintain its grip on the 1,121 mark, the midpoint between the historic high reached in October 2007 and the 12-year closing low hit in March 2009.
On the economic front, data showed U.S. factory orders fell steeply in June while an index of pending home sales plunged to a record low in the same month.
Elsewhere in the earnings space, Dow Chemical Co
But the stock of U.S. agricultural company Archer Daniels Midland Co
U.S.-listed shares of Research in Motion
In sync with Pfizer's strong quarterly profit and revenue, the healthcare sector advanced. The S&P healthcare sector index <.GSPA> rose 1 percent, while the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index <.HMO> climbed 2.1 percent.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)