(CNSNews.com) - Light activity in anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday and a lack of strong economic indicators kept stocks near unchanged levels on Tuesday.
Though the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 3.18 points to reach 10,492.60, the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.91 points to 2,084.28, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 0.30 points to 1,176.94.
The price of crude oil remained near $50 per barrel despite persistent worries about low heating oil inventories for the coming winter, which is projected to be colder than average. Also, the euro reached $1.31 against the dollar, and October's report on existing home sales showed a slight drop of 0.1 percent, which met experts' expectations.
"We have overextended ourselves a little bit, but overall, I think the economy has held in much better than expected, crude has gone back down, and a lot of those bubbles of uncertainty are gone," Bill Groenveld, head trader for vFinance Investments, told the Reuters news service. "We'll see what the holiday season brings."
Tech stocks faced downward pressure largely due to negative news regarding Intel Corp. from Credit Suisse First Boston, which lowered its rating on the producer of semiconductors to "underperform" because of high inventories and lower-than-expected demand.
H. J. Heinz Co. posted higher quarterly profits but still missed Wall Street predictions and projected that earnings for the year would be at the low end of its estimates.
On the positive side, traders decided to "supersize" their investments in McDonald's Corp. a day after the company announced that Charlie Bell, its 44-year-old chief executive, stepped down to focus on battling cancer just seven months after becoming president of the world's largest fast-food company.
Overseas, markets in Japan were closed in observance of a national holiday. In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 and France's CAC-40 made slight gains, though Germany's DAX index fell 0.26 percent.
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