The benchmark S&P 500 closed at a fresh 15-month closing high on Tuesday as data showing that factory orders rose for a third straight month in November offset a report that pointed to more weakness in the housing market.

* The Dow ended near the break-even point, while the Nasdaq eked out a tiny gain to hit its highest close in 16 months.

* Based on the latest data, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slipped 11.94 points, or 0.11 percent, to finish unofficially at 10,572.02. But the Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 3.53 points, or 0.31 percent, to finish unofficially at 1,136.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> inched up just 0.29 of a point, or 0.01 percent, to end unofficially at 2,308.71.

(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; Editing by Jan Paschal)