U.S. stocks rebounded from early losses but were range-bound on Tuesday, as investors digested mixed economic reports on housing, manufacturing and consumer confidence.
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Tuesday marks the end of the month and the third quarter, and it's been a bumpy ride for stocks. The S&P 500 is on track for a drop of 1.1% in September, while eking out a gain of 1% for the quarter. Also read: Why you should ignore October crash warnings
In Tuesday action. the S&P 500 (SPX) was up 2 points, or 0.1%, at 1,980.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) added 42 points, or 0.2%, to 17,112.07. The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) added 7 points, or 0.2%, to 4,513.17.
Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist with Voya Investment Management, pointed out that while headline numbers on Tuesday's economic reports were weaker than expected, the numbers still showed a healthy economy.
All gravy up to week's end: Annual home price growth slowed down in July to the slowest pace since late 2012, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index. The Chicago PMI slowed to a still-strong reading in September, with inventories rising at the highest pace in 41 years. Consumer confidence index fell sharply in September for its first decline in five months.
Investors also are looking across the Atlantic, where eurozone inflation hit a five-year low in September, and German jobless data disappointed, both which arguably could add pressure for the European Central Bank to launch full-scale quantitative easing soon. The ECB meets on Thursday, but economists widely expect the bank to hold back on more aggressive policy measures for now and instead provide details on its program for purchasing asset-backed securities, which was announced at the September meeting.
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The Thursday ECB meeting will be one of the week's more closely watched events. The other is is Friday's monthly jobs report, where economists want to see strong, but not overly strong, jobs growth.
Stocks to watch: Move (MOVE) leapt 37% after News Corp. (NWSA) said it would buy the online real-estate business in an all-cash deal for $21 a share. News Corp. owns MarketWatch, the publisher of this report.
EBay (EBAY) shares leapt 7.7% after the firm announced plans to spin off PayPal in a transaction expected to be completed in the second half of 2015.
Ford (F) shares were under pressure after cutting its full-year earnings outlook on expectations it will lose $1.2 billion in Europe this year.
Supervalu (SVU) shares fell 1.8% after it found more data-capturing malware at stores on Monday.
Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners (CPRX) is up 16% after the biotech said late Monday a late-stage study showed its Firdapse treatment benefited sufferers of an autoimmune disorder that causes muscle weakness. Read more about the day's notable stocks in Movers & Shakers.
Other markets: Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 1.3% as pro-democracy protests continued, though many worried about a possible crackdown. Europe stocks pushed higher on the heels of downbeat data. The euro (EURUSD) pushed lower against the dollar after eurozone inflation data.