Wall Street stocks were nearly flat in early trading Tuesday as strong earnings from Walmart and other retailers were offset by disappointing US housing data.
Shares of Walmart, Home Depot and Macy's advanced after all three companies reported better-than-expected quarterly results on strong consumer confidence in the wake of government stimulus spending and expanding vaccine availability.
"We're encouraged by traffic and grocery market share trends," said Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon. "In the US, customers clearly want to get out and shop."
About 25 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat at 34 323.60.
The broad-based S&P 500 slipped 0.1% to 4 160.48, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.2% to 13 401.60.
The strong retailer earnings came as new home construction in the United States dropped in April, falling 9.5% after the prior month saw strong growth, government data said.
Homebuilders have faced tough months recently, with bad winter weather idling many projects in February followed by a large rebound in March construction.
Stocks have been choppy the last few weeks as investors weigh signs of rising inflation against hopes for strengthening economic growth in the second half of 2021.