NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed mixed on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 dropping for the fourth consecutive session, as investors tried to digest a batch of mixed economic data amid uncertainties about the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 66.79 points, or 0.43 percent, to 15,334.59 points. The S&P 500 was down 4.42 points, or 0.26 percent, to 1,697.42 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 2.96 points, or 0.08 percent, to 3,768.25 points.
U.S. home prices steadily rose in July but at a slower pace, suggesting that the rate of increase may have peaked, according to data released by S&P Dow Jones Indices Tuesday.
Separately, the Federal Housing Finance Agency's monthly House Price Index revealed U.S. house price appreciation continued in July, rising 1.0 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, marking the eighteenth consecutive monthly price increase.
Moreover, the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index for the United States stood at 79.7 in September, lower than the revised figure of 81.8 in August and market consensus.
"A pull-back in interest rates resulting from 'no-taper' enabled the Conference Board's consumer confidence to decline less than its companion University of Michigan confidence in September. But with a risk of a government shutdown ahead, consumers are unlikely to cheer up right away unless they see more jobs and income," Mei Li, an economic analyst at FTN Financial, said on Tuesday.
The market jumped to positive territory after U.S. President Barack Obama's comments eased concerns over Iran. However, the Dow and S&P 500 surrendered all earlier gains in the last hour of trading.
The tech-rich Nasdaq held gains, underpinned by Facebook, whose shares advanced 2.67 percent to 48.45 U.S. dollars.
Investors are also eying more Fed officials to speak in the day, including Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto and Kansas City Fed President Esther George, after several Fed policy makers set mixed tones on tapering of the U.S. central bank's quantitative easing.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, fell 1.61 percent to end at 14.08.
In other markets, U.S. crude price dropped on easing Middle East tensions. Light, sweet crude for November delivery decreased 0.46 dollar to settle at 103.13 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. However, Brent crude for November delivery gained 0.48 dollar to close at 108.64 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures for December delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 10.7 dollars to settle at 1, 316.3 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar strengthened against most major currencies as investors were digesting a batch of mixed economic data and comments from U.S. Federal Reserve officials.
In late New York trading, the euro declined to 1.3477 dollars from 1.3496 dollars of the previous session, and the British pound decreased to 1.6006 dollars from 1.6048 dollars.