U.S. stocks ended flat on Tuesday though the S&P 500 snapped three days of losses as financial and consumer staples shares bounced.
Shares of biotech companies were among the biggest drags, including Biogen
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The S&P financials <.SPSY> were up 0.3 percent, helped by prospects for higher interest rates, while S&P consumer staples <.SPLRCS> were up 0.5 percent.
Another batch of strong economic data underscored views that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates in September.
"It's a market that's searching for a rationale at this point ... and waiting for next week's (Fed) meeting," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, which is based in Newark, New Jersey.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 2.51 points, or 0.01 percent, to 17,764.04, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 0.87 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,080.15 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> dropped 7.76 points, or 0.15 percent, to 5,013.87.
The Dow Jones transportation average <.DJT> ended down 0.3 percent, just shy of correction territory, which would be a drop of 10 percent from its Dec. 29, 2014, record close of 9,217.44.
Data on Tuesday showed that U.S. job openings surged to a record high in April and small business confidence increased in May, signs that the economy was regaining momentum after stumbling at the start of the year.
Shares of Hovnanian Enterprises
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,976 to 1,066, for a 1.85-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,645 issues fell and 1,093 advanced for a 1.51-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 10 new 52-week highs and 9 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 88 new highs and 46 new lows.
(By Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Nick Zieminski)