U.S. stocks closed mixed Monday on uneven economic data, with the Standard & Poor's 500- stock Index snapping a 8-day gains in a line and the Nasdaq Composite Index continuing to rise, lifted by Apple shares' picking up.
Monday's trading followed a four-week gaining streak, with the S&P 500 closing last Friday above the key level of 1,500, not seen since December 2007, spurred by good earnings reports.
The main stock indices opened slightly higher Monday in reaction to a rising of 4.6 percent of the U.S. December durable goods orders, beating market expectation, according to data released by U.S. Commerce Department Monday.
Wall Street was also boosted by major Asian stocks ending mostly higher as China's benchmark stock index jumped after major Chinese industrial enterprises posted upbeat quarterly profits.
Soon after, the U.S. equity market trimmed some early gains due to a lower-than-expected pending home sales index released a half hour after the opening bell. Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly fell 4.3 percent in December after three months of gains, the National Association of Realtors said on Monday.
In the afternoon session, the equity market continued volatile trading partly because many investors were awaiting economic reports, including the U.S. fourth quarter gross domestic products, scheduled to be released later this week.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed the other two stock indices thanks to Apple's rebound after the tech giant shares slumped recently, led by lackluster earnings report.
The tech giant took Exxon Mobil again as the most valuable publicly traded company in the world, after rallying 2.26 percent to 449.83 U.S. dollars. Apple vacated the top spot in market capitalization to Exxon Friday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average went down 0.10 points, or 0.10 percent, to 13,881.93. The S&P 500 inched down 2.78 points, or 0. 18 percent, to 1,500.18. The Nasdaq advanced 4.59 points, or 0.15 percent, to 3,154.30.
Caterpillar shares still gained 1.96 percent to 97.45 dollars after a mixed earnings report released before the opening bell. Excluding a write-down of 87 cents a share relating to a China holding, the heavy equipment maker earned 1.91 dollars a share in the fourth quarter, compared with 2.32 dollars a share in the year- ago period, but still above market estimates.
Homebuilders broadly moved down on the disappointing December pending home sales report. Lennar shares dipped 2.69 percent to 41. 91 dollars and Toll Brother shares slipped 1.18 percent to 37.53 dollars.
Yahoo shares climbed nearly 5 percent as the Web portal reported a better-than-expected profit soon after the closing bell, with its revenue of 1.35 billion dollars in the fourth quarter, up nearly 2 percent from the year-earlier period.
Looking to Tuesday's earnings, Ford, an economic bellwether, will report its fourth quarter earnings.
Light, sweet crude for March delivery gained 0.58 percent to settle at 96.44 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, bolstered by optimism about U.S. economic growth.
Brent crude for March delivery edged up, last trading above 113 dollars a barrel.
The U.S. dollar traded mixed against major currencies on Monday, but slipped versus Japanese yen after a two-day rise as investors were not sure how far the yen's depreciation would go.
Gold futures on the COMEX slipped for a fourth consecutive session on Monday, with the most active gold contract for February delivery falling 0.22 percent to settle at 1,652.9 dollars per ounce.