(RTTNews.com) - After seeing weakness throughout much of the session, stocks turned mixed over the course of the trading day on Tuesday. While the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 climbed into positive territory, the Dow remained stuck in the red.
The Dow fell 64.10 points or 0.3 percent to 24,099.05, while the Nasdaq advanced 64.44 points or 0.9 percent to 7,130.70 and the S&P 500 rose 6.75 points or 0.3 percent to 2,654.80.
The mixed closed on Wall Street came as traders looked ahead to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy announcement due Wednesday afternoon.
While the Fed is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged, traders are likely to pay close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for rates.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq benefited from a notable advance by Apple ( AAPL ), which climbed by 2.3 percent ahead of the release of its fiscal second quarter results after the close of trading.
On the other hand, a steep drop by Pfizer (PFE) weighed on the Dow, with the drug giant slumping by 3.3 percent after reporting better than expected first quarter earnings but weaker than expected sales.
In U.S. economic news, the Institute for Supply Management released a report showing growth in manufacturing activity slowed by more than anticipated in the month of April.
The ISM said its purchasing managers index dropped to 57.3 in April from 59.3 in March, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the manufacturing sector. Economists had expected the index to dip to 58.3.
A separate report released by the Commerce Department unexpectedly showed a steep drop on construction spending in the month of April.
The Commerce Department said construction spending slump by 1.7 percent to an annual rate of $1.285 trillion in March after jumping by 1.0 percent to a revised rate of $1.306 trillion in February.
Computer hardware stocks showed a significant move to the upside over the course of the trading session, driving the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index up by 2.3 percent.
Notable strength was also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent gain posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.
Housing and biotechnology stocks also moved higher on the day, while oil service stocks came under pressure amid a decrease by the price of crude oil.
With crude for June delivery tumbling by $1.32 to $67.25 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index slumped by 1.3 percent.
In overseas trading, many of the major Asian markets were closed on the day, although stocks in Australia and Japan moved higher in light trading. Australia'sS&P/ASX 200 Index climbed by 0.5 percent, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.2 percent.
U.K. stocks also moved to the upside, while most of the other major European markets were closed. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index inched up by 0.2 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries gave back ground after trending higher over the past few sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, rose by 4 basis points to 2.976 percent.
Trading on Wednesday is likely to be impacted by reaction to the Fed decision, which may overshadow a report on private sector employment in the month of April.
On the earnings front, Apple, Allstate (ALL), Juniper Networks (JNPR), Snap (SNAP), T-Mobile (TMUS) and Western Union (WU) are among the companies releasing their quarterly results after the close of today's trading.
Clorox (CLX), CVS Health (CVS), Garmin (GRMN), Humana (HUM), MasterCard (MA), and Yum! Brands (YUM) are also among the companies due to report their results before the start of trading on Wednesday.
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