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)