U.S. stocks gave up all earlier gains and closed in negative territory on Tuesday as fears over the Federal Reserve's possible tapering of its stimulus later this year and political turmoil in Egypt outweighed positive factory orders from the United States.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 42.55 points, or 0.28 percent, to 14,932.41 points. The S&P 500 inched down 0.88 points, or 0.05 percent, to 1,614.08 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.09 points, or 0.03 percent, to 3,433.40 points.
The market opened nearly flat Tuesday after ending higher Monday to start the third quarter of this year on a strong note, boosted by encouraging economic data from the United States and abroad.
Wall Street then turned higher after the U.S. factory orders data beat market consensus by a penny. The factory orders in May rose 2.1 percent, according to the Commerce Department, slightly higher than analysts' forecast of 2.0 percent. Factory orders in April rebounded 1 percent following a 4.7 percent decline in March.
However, the market reversed earlier gains to trade in red territory in late afternoon trading session after reports that Egypt's military had drawn up plans to suspend the Middle Eastern nation's constitution.
New York Fed President William Dudley offered no new ideas in a speech on Tuesday, saying that the Fed policy --including the pace of asset purchases -- depends on the outlook rather than the calendar. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, added 0.43 percent to end at 16.44.
In corporate news, Ford shares advanced 2.80 percent to 16.18 U. S. dollars after the auto maker posted a 13 percent jump from a year earlier in June sales thanks to its robust F-Series trucks sales. General Motors shares also added 0.29 percent to 34.10 dollars as the June sales of the carmaker giant moved up 6 percent.
The U.S. stock market will close on July 4 for Independence Day and close early on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. local time. Analysts expected the holiday-shortened week to see light trading volume, which may enhance volatility in the market.
In other markets, oil prices rose Tuesday on growing concerns that the ongoing unrest in Egypt may impact oil supply. Light, sweet crude for August delivery gained 1.61 dollars, to settle at 99.6 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. While Brent for August delivery went up 1 dollar, to close at 104 dollars a barrel.
Gold future for August delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 12.3 dollars, or 0.98 percent, to settle at 1,243.4 dollars per ounce Tuesday.
The U.S. dollar gained against major currencies Tuesday as encouraging economic data from the U.S. triggered speculations that the Fed may scale back the stimulus program later this year.
In late New York trading, the euro dropped to 1.2977 dollars from 1.3059 dollars of the previous session and the dollar bought 100.59 Japanese yen, higher than 99.72 from the previous session.