U.S. stocks closed mixed Tuesday, dragged down by Apple, but boosted by strong U.S. retail sales.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 27.57 points, or 0.20 percent, at 13,534.89. The broader S&P 500 Index inched up 1.66 points, or 0.11 percent, to 1,472.34. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 6.72 points, or 0.22 percent, to 3,110.78.
Wall Street was also mixed Monday, as news of Dell's possible privatization offset the reports on Apple's reduced orders.
The main stock indices sank after opening bell Tuesday, following a pre-market drop, as the European equity markets also slightly weakened with Germany reporting a fourth-quarter GDP contraction of 0.5 percent. The full-year GDP growth of the largest economy in Europe came in at 0.7 percent.
Investors' mood was also dampened by a warning from Fitch Ratings on Tuesday that a failure to raise the federal debt ceiling in time will prompt a review of the U.S. sovereign rating and that the current negative outlook of "AAA" rating may be downgraded.
Mixed economic data released on Tuesday failed to lift Wall Street into positive territory during most part of Tuesday's trading.
U.S. retail sales in December rose by a better-than-expected 0. 5 percent, according to the Commerce Department. Meanwhile, the Empire Manufacturing Survey showed that manufacturing activity in New York State contracted for the sixth month in a row in January.
The S&P and Nasdaq continued to be affected by the extended losses of Apple. The most valuable company fell 3.15 percent, touching a fresh 11-month low, one day after slumping 3.56 percent, as it reportedly cut orders for iPhone 5 parts due to sluggish demand.
During the last one-and-half hour trading, the major indices rebounded, sending the Dow and S&P into red territory as retail and transportation stocks surged.
American Eagle Outfitters rallied 7.58 percent and Gap rose 3. 41 percent on encouraging retail sales in December. Besides, Express surged 23.76 percent after the apparel retailer raised its fourth-quarter and full year 2012 outlook.
Shares of Facebook declined 2.74 percent as the largest social network's highly-anticipated press disappointed investors. The company unveiled a "graph search" feature rather than a search engine or its own phone brand on Tuesday afternoon.
SAP slumped 5.29 percent after reporting earnings. The software company's operating profit fell slightly short of expectations. In addition, SAP lowered its fourth quarter revenue guidance below consensus.
Looking at the earnings calendar, a dozen of large financials are scheduled to report results. Among the most notable names, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs are expected to see earnings jump sharply year-over-year.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery lost 0.91 percent to settle at 93.28 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday as concerns about oil demand and U.S. debt ceiling talks weighed. Meanwhile, Brent crude for February delivery slipped 1.41 percent to finish at 110.30 dollars a barrel.
The U.S. dollar rose against most of major currencies on Tuesday as data showed German economy was hurt by euro-zone debt crisis, but the dollar weakened versus Japanese yen after a four- day increase.
What's more, gold for February delivery extended gains on the COMEX, gaining 0.87 percent despite a strong dollar.