Investing.com - U.S. stocks closed mixed to higher on Tuesday in quiet trading as many investors remained on the sidelines ahead of the Federal Reserve's Wednesday announcement on interest rates and monetary policy.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.01%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.04%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.48%.
Trading was rather quiet, as many investors were eager for fresh indications as to when stimulus tools such as the Fed's monthly USD85 billion bond-buying program will taper and eventually end.
Asset purchases depress borrowing costs across the economy and make equities rise as a side effect, and talk of an end to stimulus can send stocks falling on fears recent gains in the past few years won't sustain themselves without Fed support.
On the flip side, a decision to dismantle stimulus programs would signal the Fed feels the economy can stand on its own, which in turn, would push up stocks prices down the road.
Mixed data kept many investors in a wait-and-see mode.
Earlier Tuesday, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Composite 20-city house price index rose by an annualized rate of 12.2% in May from 12.1% the previous month, a little shy of expectations for an increase to 12.4%.
While the figure missed market expectations, the numbers were strong enough to boost hopes for a more robust and sustained U.S. economic recovery.
Elsewhere, the Conference Board research group said that its index of U.S. consumer confidence fell to 80.3 in July from 82.1 in June, whose figure was revised up from 81.4.
Analysts had expected consumer confidence to remain unchanged at 81.4 last month, which kept some expectations alive that dollar-weakening stimulus measures will stay in place.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Cisco Systems, up 1.50%, Microsoft, up 1.05%, and Boeing, up 0.89%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Verizon Communications, down 2.06%, AT&T, down 1.20%, and Walt Disney, down 0.67%.
European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.
After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.64%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.45%, while Germany's DAX 30 finished up 0.15%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished up 0.16%.
Markets will move on the Federal Reserve's decision on monetary policy as well as on U.S. gross domestic product data due out Wednesday.
Investors will also keep an eye out for the July jobs report due out on Friday.
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