U.S. stocks gave up gains in the last hour of trading to end Tuesday in negative territory. At the closing bell, the broader market averages lost 0.1% to 0.2%. Utility, telecom and consumer discretionary names led the way lower, while energy and health care stocks were the only groups in positive territory.
Elsewhere, crude oil added 3% to recent gains, the U.S. dollar index gained 1% and the spot price of gold fell fractionally. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note ticked down to 1.886%.
In after-hours news, Airgas (ARG) boosted its quarterly dividend 9%, to $0.60 a share (2.3% yield). Investors at the close of trading on June 10 will qualify for the payment on June 30.
Last week I listed Airgas and three other companies in the S&P 1500 Supercomposite Index that will likely increase their dividends in the second quarter. Click here for more details.
Looking ahead to Wednesday morning, Family Dollar (FDO), Global Payments (GPN) and Rite Aid (RAD) highlight the earnings calendar. On the economic front, traders will be looking at the weekly mortgage applications, given the continued uncertainty around interest rates.