The blue-chip Dow Jones index finished slightly higher but earlier stocks dipped on disappointing reports on consumer confidence and falling home prices.
According to preliminary data, the Dow Jones industrial average is closing Tuesday up 21 points, or 0.2 percent, to 11,576. The Standard and Poor's 500 stock index edged up 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,259. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index lost 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,662.
A weak government bond auction sent bond prices lower. The 10-year Treasury bond yield rose to 3.49 percent from 3.34 percent late Monday.
Volume was 558 million shares on this thin trading week between the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Falling shares narrowly outpaced rising ones on the New York Stock Exchange.