Stocks pared losses on Tuesday as a better-than-expected reading on consumer confidence boosted investor optimism.

Equities remained in negative territory, hurt by weakness in 3M Co and United Parcel Service Inc , which both reported earnings. Strong results from blue chip Ford Motor Co limited losses.

In other economic data, new home sales fell 1 percent in June.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 82.84 points, or 0.66 percent, at 12,509.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dipped 5.60 points, or 0.42 percent, at 1,331.83. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was off 5.84 points, or 0.21 percent, at 2,836.96.

(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica)