Stocks closed an uninspired session mixed Tuesday as investors kept a wary eye on high oil prices and debated the prospect of a Social Security restructuring package without private investment accounts.
One day after reaching highs flirting with $60 a barrel, crude oil prices fell below $59, but the historically high prices were still weighing on investors' enthusiasm for stocks.
Some analysts were cheered that stocks have yet to sell off despite higher oil prices, though there are growing worries about whether the market will be able to sustain its gains from May and June should oil prices remain at these levels.
Investors were also concerned about the prospects of Social Security changes after President Bush encouraged Republicans in Congress to introduce a proposal that did not include private accounts, which are favored on Wall Street.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9.44, or 0.1 percent, to 10,599.67. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index slipped 2.49, or 0.2 percent, to 1213.61, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 2.94, or 0.1 percent, to 2091.07.
Maytag rose 83 cents, to $16.06. The appliance maker is being courted by two private investment groups. The company agreed to a $14-per-share takeover last month, but its board said late Monday it would review an offer of $16 per share by another private group backed by Chinese appliance manufacturer Haier Group.
Nucor dropped $2.25, to $50.68, as commodity stocks were among the market's biggest losers and metal stocks were hit hardest. Nucor rival Commercial Metals fell $1.51, to $25.62.
Kroger surged $1.76, or 10 percent, to $19.45, after reporting that quarterly profit rose 12 percent from a year ago. The grocery chain also increased its outlook for future earnings.
Lennar rose $1.34, to $63.41, after posting a 21 percent jump in profit, beating analysts' expectations by 20 cents a share. Strong sales and record backlog of housing orders prompted the company to raise its 2005 profit forecasts as well.
New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 11.44, to 7314.25.
American Stock Exchange index fell 6.76, to 1542.68.
Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 0.80, to 641.04.
NYSE: 1.3 billion shares, up from 1.28 billion on Monday. Decliners narrowly outnumbered advancers.
Nasdaq: 1.58 billion shares, up from 1.43 billion. Advancers narrowly outnumbered decliners.
Crude oil for July delivery: $58.90, down 47 cents.
Gold for current delivery: $438.90 a troy ounce, up from $438.40 on Monday.