US stocks mixed after downbeat confidence data

US stocks were mixed in morning trade Tuesday after a jolt from a dive in consumer confidence and a series of better-than-expected company earnings.

An hour into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 31.64 points (0.23 percent) at 13,913.57.

The S&P 500, a broad measure of the markets, edged up 0.90 point (0.06 percent) to 1,501.08.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 14.32 (0.45 percent) to 3,139.98.

"Investors are cautious ahead of several economic reports and as the Federal Reserve kicks off its two-day policy meeting," Wells Fargo Advisors said in a market note.

The indices took a brief hit after the Conference Board reported US consumer confidence sank sharply in January, to 58.6, well below market expectations.

Before the markets opened, the S&P/Case-Shiller index showed home prices weakened in November but were still 5.5 percent higher than a year earlier, another sign of strength in the housing market.

Pfizer, the world's biggest pharmaceutical company, led the Dow gainers, jumping 2.4 percent after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that topped expectations.

Hewlett-Packard was the blue-chip laggard, sliding 2.8 percent.

Ford slumped 5.4 percent after posting stronger-than-expected earnings but mixed forecasts for 2013.

Yahoo! fell 1.4 percent. The struggling Internet pioneer's quarterly profit beat expectations.

Apple was up 1.4 percent, supporting the Nasdaq, after announcing a new iPad with double the storage capacity.

Research in Motion plunged 8.7 percent a day ahead of the launch of its latest smartphone, the BlackBerry 10.

Stocks closed mostly lower Monday after a string of rallies that left the indices at multi-year highs. The Dow dropped 0.10 percent and the S&P 500 fell 0.18 percent, while the Nasdaq gained 0.15 percent.

Bond prices rose slightly Tuesday. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury slipped to 1.96 percent from 1.97 percent late Monday, while the yield on the 30-year bond edged down to 3.14 percent from 3.15 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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