NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The Dow industrials and the S&P 500 kept close to record intraday highs on Tuesday in a tight trading range, with healthy earnings from United Technologies bolstering the blue-chip Dow.
Biotech and tech shares weighed on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, with the S&P biotech subindex falling 1.8 per cent a day after hitting an all-time high.
The S&P consumer staples index slipped 0.2 per cent and ranked among the worst performers of the benchmark index's 10 industrial sectors.
Shares of United Technologies, the world's largest maker of elevators and air conditioners, hit an all-time intraday high of $105.63 after the company reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit and raised the low end of its 2013 earnings forecast. In late afternoon trading, the stock was up 3 per cent at $105.16.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed to an intraday record high of 15,604.22, while the S&P 500 reached an all-time intraday high of 1,698.78.
Tuesday's trading was marked by an extremely tight range, with the Dow traveling only 60.16 points from its session low to its intraday high. The S&P 500 moved just 7.65 points from its record intraday high to its session low.
"Right now with the market moving sideways in a very tight range, that's a very healthy scenario," said Mr Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.
"We've got a nice move up, and the market's simply pausing to digest that move and waiting for another catalyst to send stocks to new high ground or to pull back a little bit."
If the S&P 500 ends Tuesday's session with a decline, it would be only the second down day in the last 14 for the benchmark index. The S&P 500 has gained nearly 19 percent so far this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 45.63 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 15,591.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index edged down just 0.46 of a point, or 0.03 per cent, to 1,695.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 12.89 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 3,587.49.
Tech bellwether Apple Inc is scheduled to report fiscal third-quarter results after the closing bell. Its stock, however, is not expected to show a big swing after the earnings.
This could mean investors are under-hedged in case the company delivers a shock.
The options market is pricing in a potential move up or down of 4 per cent to almost 5 per cent in Apple's stock price following the results - in line with a historic average move of about 4.3 per cent to 4.4 per cent over the past four quarters.
Apple's stock was down 1.2 per cent at $421.30 in late afternoon trading, making it the biggest drag on both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500.
Of the 130 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far this season, 63.8 per cent have beaten analysts'expectations, but 51.5 per cent have fallen short of revenue forecasts. Over the past four quarters, 67 per cent of companies have beaten earnings estimates.
Netflix Inc shares dropped 4.4 per cent to $250.50 a day after the movies and TV streaming service reported it had gained new subscribers in the second quarter. The number of new subscribers, though, was not enough to impress investors.
Elsewhere in the tech sector, Cisco Systems said it will buy software maker Sourcefire Inc for about US$2.7 billion (S$3.41 billion) to increase its network security services. Sourcefire shares surged 27.8 per cent to $75.49. In comparison, Cisco's stock was down 0.3 per cent at $25.64.
Shares of Phillips 66 Partners shot up 30.8 per cent to $30.08 in their first day of trading. The initial public offering of 16.4 million shares was priced at $23 per share. The new publicly traded partnership has a contractual relationship with Phillips 66, whose shares rose 2.8 per cent to $59.59.