NEW YORK, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed mixed Tuesday, with the S&P 500 edging up closer to its all-time high set in mid- January, shrugging off a pair of soft economic data from the United States.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 23.99 points, or 0.15 percent, to 16,130.40. The S&P 500 rose 2.13 points, or 0.12 percent, to 1,840.76. The Nasdaq added 28.76 points, or 0.68 percent, to 4,272.78.
The tech-rich Nasdaq logged the first eight-day winning streak since July 2013, touching its highest level in 13 years and a half.
After gaining for the seventh time in eight sessions, the broader S&P 500 was just about 10 points shy of its record high set in January.
On the economic front, the general business conditions index for February fell eight points in New York region, but remained positive at 4.5, according to the Empire State Manufacturing Survey released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York before the opening bell Tuesday, falling short of analysts' forecasts.
Moreover, U.S. builder confidence in the market for newly-built, single-family homes dropped to 46 in February from 56 in the prior month, according to the National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index released Tuesday. The association blamed unusually severe weather conditions for the worse-than- expected reading.
However, the major indices struggled to move higher, as a big acquisition deal boosted investors' sentiment. Dublin- headquartered Actavis said Tuesday that it agreed to take over its rival drug maker Forest Laboratories at roughly 25 billion U.S. dollars. Shares of Forest Laboratories skyrocketed 27.52 percent to 91.04 U.S. dollars apiece.
The market fluctuated narrowly in the trading session as investors showed reluctant to make a big bet ahead of the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting held in January. The minutes, which will be published Wednesday, will focus on discussions surrounding the Fed's forward guidance.
Among other corporate news, Coca-Cola's shares dipped 3.75 percent to 37.47 dollars after its revenues of the fourth quarter missed the market estimates.
Shortly after the closing bell, Herbalife beat the market consensus both on its quarterly revenues and profit. In response, shares of the nutrition and weight management company surged in after-hours trading.
The market on Tuesday kicked off a holiday-shortened week after it was closed Monday for Presidents' Day.
The three major stock indices logged their best weekly gain since the start of the year last week, as investors cheered U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's remarks saying that she expected a great deal of continuity in the central bank's monetary policy in her first testimony in Congress as the Fed chief.