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.
U.S. & World
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.