Energy stocks got a boost from a deal that Southern Union Co. struck with Energy Transfer Equity LP. But even as energy stocks rose, others wavered Tuesday.
Brendan McDermid / Reuters
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 2 points to 12,580 in afternoon trading. The Dow had risen as many as 19 points after the Commerce Department reported an increase in factory orders. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2, or 0.2 percent, to 1,338. The Nasdaq composite index rose 4, or 0.2 percent, to 2,820. All three indexes were moving in a narrow range.
Trading volume is expected to be light this week. U.S. markets were closed Monday for the July 4th holiday. Many traders are looking ahead to next week, when aluminum maker Alcoa Inc. becomes the first major U.S. company to report financial results.
Last week the Dow rose 648 points, its best week in two years, after Nike reported strong earnings and Greece cleared its final hurdle before receiving another round of loans. Automakers also reported that their sales rose 7 percent in June, compared to a year ago.
The gains erased nearly six weeks of losses. Prior to last week stocks had been falling since late April because of concerns about the debt crisis in Europe, weak home sales in the U.S. and slowing manufacturing. By mid-June, stocks had given up most of their gains for the year.
With last week's rally, the Dow is now down just 1.8 percent from April 29, when it reached a three-year high. The Dow is up 8.5 percent for the year. The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq composite are both up about 6 percent.