U.S. stocks opened lower on Tuesday ahead of key housing data, a day after the S&P 500 index jumped to its highest close in seven months.

* The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> shed 20.87 points, or 0.24 percent, to 8,700.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 2.78 points, or 0.29 percent, to 940.09. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 10.61 points, or 0.58 percent, to 1,818.07.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)