NEW YORK —
Tech behemoths IBM and Google are set to announce their earnings results after the market closes. Tech companies' results are being watched closely because many of them have warned about a weak fourth quarter. Apple reports after the closing bell Wednesday.
Railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern also announce after the close. Rail companies are seen as a bellwether for the broader economy because their results track the demand for transportation of materials used in manufacturing and goods sold to consumers and businesses.
Some homebuilder stocks fell after the National Association of Homebuilders said sales of previously occupied homes dipped to an annual pace of 4.94 million from 4.99 million in November. November's figure was revised lower, but was still the highest in three years.
PulteGroup Inc. lost 17 cents to $20.32. D.R. Horton Inc. lost 24 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $21.27. Standard Pacific Crop. Dropped 5 cents to $7.86.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 1.84 percent.
Asian indexes closed mixed after the Bank of Japan announced a new round of bond purchases that many observers thought was too weak to have much effect on the economy. The BOJ set a 2 percent inflation target and announced open-ended asset purchases starting in 2014.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.4 percent, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.3 percent. China's Shenzhen average fell 1.5 percent.
European stocks also were mixed. Germany's DAX closed down 0.7 percent despite strong results from an investor confidence survey in that country. Britain's FTSE 100 was flat; France's CAC 40 fell 0.6 percent.
Benchmark oil rose 66 cents to $96.22 at midday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as global economic reports remain generally positive.