Tuesday stocks flat after disappointing economic reports

Dow at 11,574, a rise of 19 points so far today.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ping-ponged between slight gains and losses Tuesday after disappointing reports on consumer confidence and home prices.
The Conference Board announced that consumer’s confidence in the economy slid to a level of 52.5 in December, down from 54.3 in November. Economists were expecting the index to rise to 55.8. A reading on the index above 90 indicates a healthy economy.
Fears that the housing market could continue to fall are contributing to wariness about the economy. Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller said Tuesday that home prices fell 1.3 percent in October from a month earlier.
Home prices slid across the country. Prices were down 2.9 percent in Atlanta, 2 percent in Chicago, and 1.9 percent in San Francisco.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 8.6 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 11,563. The Standard and Poor’s 500-stock index fell 0.2, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,257. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index lost 6, or 0.2 percent, to 2,660.
Energy and materials companies were the only ones to post gains among the 10 industry groups that make up the S&P 500.
Chevron Corp. rose 1 percent to lead the 30 stocks that make up the Dow index. Caterpillar Inc. had the largest fall, losing 0.6 percent.
In corporate news, General Motors Co. gained 2.3 percent to $35.40 after a handful of analysts initiated coverage of the company and gave it favorable ratings.
Home builder Beazer Homes USA Inc. fell 3.5 percent to $5.42 on the news that home prices fell in October.
Trading volumes on Wall Street are expected to be light throughout the week. Many investors have already closed their books for the year and are on vacation until January.

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