Stocks fell into choppy trading Tuesday as investors digested the release of-than-expected Home earnings earnings, mixed economic data and testimony from the top-ranked Federal Reserve official.
Home Depot's results were followed by-than-expected housing starts data. rce Department showed housing starts fell 11.2 percent in December and reached their lowest level since September 2016.
The data is old and "not enough time for consumers to respond to lower mortgage rates," said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. "That said, the weekly MBA data on purchases has shown no real rebound in response to lower mortgage rates." Home prices also rose in December at their slowest pace August 2015, the S&P Case-Shiller index showed.
Strong consumer confidence numbers helped equities recover some of their losses. The conference board said its consumer confidence index surged to 131.4 in February, easily topping an estimate of 124. In January, consumer confidence was at 121.7.