Stocks edge lower after consumer confidence report

Friday, March 23, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 12

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing slightly lower, ending a day in which major indexes wavered between small gains and losses.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 44 points to close at 13,198 Tuesday, a loss of 0.3 percent.

Earnings from Lennar Corp. helped pull housing stocks up. Lennar rose 4.7 percent, the best gain in the S&P 500 index.

Stocks opened higher, then pulled back after the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence slipped in March. Higher gas prices offset the surging stock market.

Other indexes edged lower. The S&P 500 index dropped four points to 1,413. The Nasdaq composite fell two points to 3,120.

More than four stocks fell for every three that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was well below average at 3.4 billion.