(Reuters) - The S&P 500 stock index ticked up on Tuesday, buoyed by gains in the energy and materials sectors, even though lackluster economic data weakened the U.S. dollar, thereby giving support to oil and gold prices.
After the closing bell, however, S&P500 futures pared gains and Nasdaq added to losses following a more than 6.0 percent fall in Apple’s shares after the company reported earnings below expectations.
Earlier, the U.S. Commerce Department reported U.S. durable goods orders recovered far less than expected in March as demand for cars, computers and appliances slumped, dragging down the U.S. dollar. Consumers also appeared slightly pessimistic on the economy’s short-term outlook and sent a measure of confidence lower in April.
The data came as Federal Reserve officials started a two-day policy meeting in Washington, D.C. Policymakers are expected to hold interest rates steady but may be more upbeat on the economic outlook, leaving the path open for future interest rate rises.
“Commodities and oil are up, the dollar trending lower, the things that started this rally are still there but there’s a pause on temporary uncertainties,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment officer at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis.
“Technical resistance, weaker data, uncertainty about the Fed, weak earnings numbers are giving people pause.”
He said it is encouraging for market bulls that the S&P500 index is holding near the record high it set almost a year ago after a 15 percent rally from the lows in February.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.08 points, or 0.07 percent, to 17,990.32, the S&P 500 gained 3.91 points, or 0.19 percent, to 2,091.7 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 7.48 points, or 0.15 percent, to 4,888.31.
The S&P 500 has ended little changed since last Thursday, with sector gains and losses hinging on the direction of oil prices each day. The energy sector, up 1.4 percent on Tuesday, posted the session’s biggest gains, tracking a 3.3 percent increase in the price of U.S crude oil futures.
Apple shares dropped almost 7.0 percent to $97.31 after the bell as its earnings fell below expectations and its outlook also disappointed. Shares were down 0.7 percent at $104.35 at the end of the regular session.
Twitter shares lost more than 10 percent in late trading after it reported lower-than-expected revenue for the first quarter, hurt by weaker spending by big advertisers.
During the regular session DuPont rose 2.4 percent to $67.55 as the largest gainer on the Dow industrials after it said it is aiming to buy back $2 billion in shares this year.
Dow components 3M and Procter & Gamble were down 1.3 percent and 2.3 percent respectively after reporting declining sales.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a ratio of 3.4-to-1 and on the Nasdaq a 1.7-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq recorded 60 new highs and 24 new lows.
About 6.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, compared to the 6.9 billion average over the past 20 sessions.
Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli