U.S. stocks are inching mostly lower Tuesday as global markets stabilize a day after a plunge in China unsettled investors worldwide. Health care stocks were the biggest gainers as drugmakers moved modestly higher.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 25 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,124 as of 10:13 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost less than a point to 2,012. The Nasdaq composite was unchanged at 4,903.
DRIVE MY CAR: Auto makers are reporting their December and full-year sales Tuesday. Car shopping site Edmunds.com expects 1.7 million cars were sold, which would make last month the biggest December in history for the auto industry.
General Motors said its U.S. sales rose 6 percent to 3 million cars and trucks, while Ford's sales increased 8 percent. Fiat Chrysler sales grew 13 percent and Nissan's sales rose 19 percent. Despite the gains, GM fell 95 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $32.36 and Ford declined 34 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $13.64.
DRUGMAKERS RISE: Gilead Sciences advanced after it announced positive results from a clinical trial of a hepatitis B drug and said it will file for marketing approval by the end of March. Gilead added $1.44, or 1.5 percent, to $99.45, recovering some of its loss from Monday.
GUN MAKERS CLIMB: Gun makers continued to trade higher on reports of strong sales and the prospect of additional background checks and other regulations, which often boost demand.
Smith & Wesson rose $3.13, or 13.4 percent, to $26.41 and Sturm Ruger added $5.21, or 8.5 percent, to $66.60. Late Monday, Smith & Wesson raised its profit estimates for the year, saying sales were stronger than it had expected.
OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX was down 0.1 percent while France's CAC-40 edged up 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares rose 0.7 percent higher.
CHINA FEARS: Asian stocks traded lower, but selling mostly abated as China's stock market was more stable. On Monday, the first trading of the year, the Shanghai Composite Index slumped 7 percent on more signs of weakness in China's manufacturing sector.
OIL WORRIES: Despite rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, oil prices continued to tumble because demand appears weak while stockpiles are large. U.S. crude fell 55 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $36.22 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 79 cents, or 2 percent, to $36.41 a barrel in London.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 119.07 yen from 119.30 yen late Monday. The euro fell to $1.0751 from $1.0827. the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 2.25 percent.