Stocks fell on Tuesday as a drop in consumer confidence and disappointing quarterly results from companies like Office Depot Inc dampened hopes for a strong economic recovery.

U.S. consumer confidence declined more than expected in July, according to the Conference Board. The numbers marked the second consecutive monthly drop as a sluggish labor market continued to worry consumers.

That's the big negative, said Thomas Nyheim, vice president and portfolio manager at Christiana Bank & Trust Co. in Greenville, Delaware. The worse-than-expected number is what's taking from the market today.

Office Depot , the No. 2 U.S. office supply retailer, reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly loss as the recession hurt demand from corporate customers. The stock slid 20.4 percent to $4.26.

The slide in consumer confidence also hit oil prices, which weighed on energy shares. Exxon Mobil Corp dropped 2 percent to $71.27. The S&P energy index<.GSPE> tumbled 2.8 percent, with the sector representing the biggest drag on the benchmark S&P 500.

U.S. front-month crude declined 2.2 percent, or $1.52, to $66.86 a barrel.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> slipped 54.64 points, or 0.60 percent, to 9,053.87. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 8.95 points, or 0.91 percent, to 973.23. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 8.66 points, or 0.44 percent, to 1,959.23.

The S&P 500 is up about 44 percent from the 12-year closing low it hit in early March.

With the second-quarter earnings season is at about the halfway mark, investors are pulling back a bit and paying more attention to economic data for signs that the recovery is gaining traction.

The market's rallied pretty hard for the last two months. There's an anticipation that it'll pause, Nyheim said.

U.S. Steel Corp reported a second consecutive quarterly loss and said it expects all its business sectors to operate in the red in the third quarter. The company said customer orders had increased, but the outlook for overall demand and economic recovery was uncertain.

Its stock dropped 3.5 percent to $39.82.

U.S. single-family home prices rose in May from April, according to Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price indexes released on Tuesday. This is the first monthly increase in nearly three years, suggesting stabilization in the housing market.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)