U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday after data showed factory activity expanded in February and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke downplayed the effects of higher oil prices in the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 29.48 points, or 0.24 percent, to 12,196.86. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 4.42 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,322.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 10.51 points, or 0.38 percent, to 2,771.76.