The Conference Board reported Tuesday that December's consumer-confidence index dropped to 91.3 from a revised 92.5 in November--significantly below the 92.3 reading that economists had been expecting. Sales of existing homes unexpectedly fell 4.6% in November. And manufacturing activity in the Chicago region grew at a slower-than-expected pace in December, as measured by the Chicago purchasing managers index.
SBC Communications was among the day's biggest gainers, up 17 cents, or 0.7%, to $26.06. But stocks that lost ground included IBM, which fell 89 cents, or 1%, to $92.63; Intel, which fell 11 cents, or 0.3%, to $32.04; and Advanced Micro Devices, which fell 17 cents, or 1.1%, to $15.11. The Nasdaq-100 tracking stock closed at $36.47, up 3 cents, or 0.1%, on very light volume of 45 million shares.
Our InformationWeek 100 index fell 0.59 points, or 0.2%, to close at 315.93, while the Nasdaq rose 3.40 points, or 0.2%, to close at 2,009.88. The Dow fell 24.96 points, or 0.2%, to close at 10,425.04, while the S&P 500 rose 0.16, or 0.01%, to finish the day at 1,109.64.