Stocks were little changed on Tuesday as the market consolidated after strong gains last week and manufacturing data did little to boost investors' sentiment.

New orders received by U.S. factories bounced back in May, boosted by demand for transportation equipment, a government report showed. The 0.8 percent rise was slightly below economists' forecast.

Equities had rallied for five straight days for a 5.6 percent gain on the S&P, rebounding from weakness over the past two months. Moves to avert a debt crisis in Europe and surprisingly strong regional business data helped lift some of the gloom on Wall Street.

Factory orders -- I didn't get much reaction or pull from that, said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co. Lake Oswego, Oregon. We've had a big rally; it's time for consolidation.

Volume is expected to remain low in the holiday-shortened week, which could increase volatility. Markets were closed on Monday for the Independence Day holiday.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 23.42 points, or 0.19 percent, to 12,559.35. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> declined 4.23 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,335.44. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 5.24 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,810.79.

Southern Union Co advanced 3 percent to $41.59 after pipeline operator Energy Transfer Equity LP raised its bid to buy its rival by 21 percent to about $5 billion, trumping the $4.9 billion bid offer from Williams Companies Inc .

Immucor Inc surged 30.2 percent to $26.98 after the diagnostics firm said it agreed to be acquired by private equity group TPG Capital for a fully diluted equity value of $1.97 billion.

(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Kenneth Barry)