U.S. stocks were little changed as reduced profit estimates for Cisco Systems and Broadcom and a lower capital-spending forecast for chipmakers limited an advance sparked by a third day of falling oil prices.
"Because there is such little activity, if you do get a preponderance of negative analyst views, the market is going to pick up on that and follow suit," said Jay Suskind, head of equity trading at Ryan Beck & Co. in Livingston, N.J.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 0.51, to 1096.19. The Nasdaq composite index, which gets 38 percent of its value from computer-related stocks, fell 1.81, or 0.1 percent, to 1836.89 after rising as much as 0.6 percent.
Caterpillar, Honeywell International and United Technologies led a gain in the Dow Jones industrial average as the shares benefited from the drop in oil prices. The average rose 25.58, or 0.3 percent, to 10,098.63.
The benchmarks reached their highs for the day right after the oil market opened at 10 a.m. in New York. Crude futures had their first three-day drop in six weeks.
Cisco, the world's biggest maker of computer-networking equipment, fell 21 cents, to $18.97. Broadcom, a maker of microchips for computer networks and electronics, sank $2.14, or 6.9 percent, to $28.96, the steepest drop in the S&P 500.
Chip-equipment makers such as Applied Materials fell after Piper Jaffray analyst C. William Lu said capital spending in the industry will fall 5 percent or remain flat in 2005. He previously had anticipated growth as high as 10 percent. Applied Materials dropped 29 cents, to $15.93. Novellus Systems fell 64 cents, to $24.85.
Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of earthmoving equipment, rose $1.10, to $73.15, for the biggest gain in the Dow. Honeywell, the world's No. 1 maker of cockpit electronics, gained 37 cents, to $35.69, and United Technologies, the maker of Pratt & Whitney jet engines, rose 75 cents, to $93.65.
H.J. Heinz Co. climbed $1.03, to $37.63. The world's biggest ketchup maker said sales in North America rose for the first time in four quarters, increasing 5.7 percent to $2 billion.
The decline in crude prices boosted transportation stocks and hurt shares of oil and gas companies.
An index of transportation stocks rose 1 percent, the second-biggest gain among 24 industry groups in the S&P 500. Southwest Airlines, the No. 1 U.S. low-fare carrier, gained 26 cents, to $14.86, and Norfolk Southern, the fourth-largest railroad, increased 30 cents, to $27.47.
Energy shares dropped 0.4 percent, the third-largest decline among the S&P 500's industry groups, as oil and natural-gas producers declined. Devon Energy dropped 71 cents, to $64.54, and Kerr-McGee shed 78 cents, to $51.59.
Google, which sold $1.92 billion of stock to investors last week, had its first decline as a public company. Shares fell $4.53, to $104.87.
* The New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 2.93, to 6382.51; the American Stock Exchange index fell 4.32, to 1213.73; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 1.54, to 545.01.
* Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 5 to 4 on the NYSE, where trading volume rose to 1.09 billion shares, from 1.02 billion on Monday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, advancers outnumbered decliners by 6 to 5 and volume totaled 1.29 billion, up from 1.21 billion.
* The price of the Treasury's 10-year note rose 94 cents per $1,000 invested, and its yield fell to 4.28 percent, from 4.29 percent on Monday.
* The dollar fell against the Japanese yen and rose against the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 109.52 yen, down from 109.83 late Monday, and a euro bought $1.2074, down from $1.2148.
* Light, sweet crude oil for October delivery settled at $45.21, down 84 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
* Gold for current delivery fell to $403.00 a troy ounce, from $410.50 on Monday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.