NEW YORK, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks ended mixed on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling for the fifth consecutive session, ahead of the release of the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting minutes.
The blue-chip Dow inched down 7.75 points, or 0.05 percent, to 15,002.99 points. The broader Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index gained 6.29 points, or 0.38 percent, to 1,652.35 points. The tech- heavy Nasdaq Composite Index was up 24.50 points, or 0.68 percent, to 3,613.59 points.
Investors would be looking for any hints on Fed tapering plans as the Federal Open Market Committee, the U.S. central bank's policy-setting group, will release the minutes of its July 30-31 meeting on Wednesday.
Moreover, U.S monetary policy makers will meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming from Thursday to Saturday to discuss economic situation and monetary policy.
On the previous trading day, the Dow and the S&P 500 marked a four-day losing streak for the first time this year amid ongoing worries over Fed's possible tapering of its stimulus policy later this year.
World stocks sold off Tuesday on the heels of Wall Street's Monday slip. In Asia, stocks dipped across the board as Indonesia' s Jakarta Composite plunged on worries about capital outflows from emerging markets mainly due to prospects of the Fed's tapering.
European stocks continued to fall Tuesday after a sharp decrease in Italian stock market Monday, with its FTSE MIB index down 2.5 percent.
On the economic front, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index edged up to minus 0.15 in July, up from minus 0.23 in June, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
"The CFNAI is a summary of released indicators in the last month. Consumption and housing, which were supposed to lead the economy, remained subdued and contributed negatively, implying that national economic activity is under pressure. On balance, the index shows minimal improvement and slow growth," Mei Li, an economic analyst at FTN Financial, said Tuesday.
In corporate earnings, Best Buy shares jumped 13.24 percent to 34.80 U.S. dollars apiece after the consumer electronics retailer reported its earnings and revenue for the second quarter both of which beat market consensus.
Home Depot shares shed 1.22 percent to 74.29 dollars apiece though the Dow component beat market expectations both on earnings and revenue for the second quarter.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, was down 1.26 percent to end at 14.91.
In other markets, U.S. oil prices dropped on Fed tapering concerns. Light, sweet crude for September delivery lost 2.14 dollars to settle at 104.96 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. But Brent for October delivery went up 25 cents to close at 110.15 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures for December delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange increased 6.9 dollars to settle at 1, 372.6 dollars per ounce on a weakened dollar.
The U.S. dollar fell against major currencies, hitting a six- month low against the euro amid the Fed scale-back speculation. In late New York trading, the euro gained to 1.3419 dollars from 1. 3342 dollars of the previous session and the dollar bought 97.22 Japanese yen, compared with 97.59 yen of the previous session.