Stocks were little changed as data showing worsening consumer confidence offset optimism fueled by more upbeat earnings reports.
The benchmark S&P 500 index held above key technical levels, however, indicating upward momentum remained intact.
Recent economic data has raised concerns the U.S. recovery has stalled while the latest earnings reports have sent more optimistic signals on the economy. On Monday, each of the major U.S. stock indexes finished the session up 1 percent after an upbeat outlook from FedEx .
The confidence report reminds us of how tough things have become, and that takes some of the spark out of stocks, said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer, Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC, Albany, New York.
Earnings have been doing well, but we're running out of the ones that really are the movers.
Some 41 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings so far this period.
Consumer confidence fell in July to its lowest point since February, weighed by worries about the job market, according to a report from the Conference Board. For details, see
But helping the Dow was DuPont & Co
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 15.40 points, or 0.15 percent, at 10,540.83. But the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 1.24 points, or 0.11 percent, at 1,113.77. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 8.55 points, or 0.37 percent, at 2,287.89.
Companies sensitive to economic cycles were among top decliners, including heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc , down 1.8 percent at $68.71, and 3M , down 0.9 percent at $86.54.
In other earnings news, Cummings Inc , the engines and power-generation equipment maker, gained 1.6 percent to $79.09 after reporting stronger-than-expected quarterly results and raising its annual forecast on strong demand overseas.
The S&P 500 hit a session high just above 1,120, around the midpoint between its 2007 historic high and a 12-year low hit in 2009. That retracement is seen by analysts as strong technical resistance.
Other technical analysis factors, including the moving average convergence-divergence and momentum, continued to show bullish signals for the three major indexes.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Jan Paschal)