Stocks Finished Quiet Day Flat

Stocks finished little changed in choppy, low-volume trading Tuesday after the latest economic data offered some mildly encouraging news on United States factory orders, as investors largely shrugged off Moody’s downgrade of Portugal’s rating into junk territory. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12.90 points, or 0.10 percent, to close at 12,569.87. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 1.79 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,337.88. The Nasdaq rose 9.74 points, or 0.35 percent, to 2,825.77.

Factory orders rose 0.8 percent in May, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That followed a downwardly revised drop of 0.9 percent in April. The increase pushed factory orders to $445.3 billion. That’s almost 32 percent higher than the low point during the recession, reached in March 2009.

Moody’s downgraded Portugal’s debt. The credit ratings agency cited concerns that Portugal will not be able to meet targets to reduce its deficit due to the “formidable challenges” the country is facing in cutting spending.

Oil rose Tuesday after Barclays Capital raised its 2012 price forecast for Brent crude, used to price many international types of oil. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude on Tuesday gained $1.95, or 2 percent, to settle at $96.89 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Netflix is expanding its movie and TV show streaming service into 43 countries throughout Latin America in the online movie rental company’s largest international expansion yet. Analysts said the expansion was larger than expected.

Chinese search giant Baidu Inc. will use Microsoft’s Bing for some English-language results as the software giant tries to expand its small share of China’s search market.

Bank of America’s $8.5 billion settlement with investors over poor-quality mortgage bonds is facing a new challenge. On Tuesday, a group of bond investors calling themselves Walnut Place said they objected to the terms of the settlement.

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