Stocks Close Slightly Lower after Early Gains Fade

U.S. stocks closed lower on Tuesday after positive car sales and factory-orders data were not enough to maintain earlier gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 42.55 points, or 0.3%, at 14,932.41, after being up as
much as 74 points earlier in the session. The S&P 500 Index finished down 0.88 point, or 0.01%, at 1,614.08, after trading up as much as 9 points intraday. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed down 1.09 points at 3,433.40, after being up as much as 19 points.

Ford Motor Co. led the charge in June with a 13% rise in its U.S. auto sales, as consumers’ appetite for new vehicles continued unabated. General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) notched 6.5% growth, while Chrysler Group LLC’s sales rose 8.2%.

Orders for goods produced in U.S. factories climbed 2.1% in May, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Factory orders rose a revised 1.3% in April, up from a prior estimate of 1.0% growth. Orders for durable goods – products meant to last at least three years – rose 3.7% in May.  Orders for nondurable goods edged up 0.7%. Shipments of factory-produced goods increased 1% after a 0.7% decline in April.

Oil futures settled higher Tuesday as turmoil in Egypt and Syria, a climb in U.S. factory orders and expectations for a weekly decline in crude supplies helped to lift prices above $99 a barrel to their highest level in more than a year. Crude for August delivery gained $1.61, or 1.6%, to settle at $99.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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