By Kristina Peterson
U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Tuesday after data showed the fall in home prices abating and technology stocks climbed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 9 points, or 0.1%, to 10906.
Verizon (VZ) was its strongest component, with shares up 2.5% after The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is designing new iPhones, including a version that could work on Verizon's network. AT&T Inc. (T) plunged to the bottom of the Dow, with shares slipping 0.8%, while Apple Inc. (AAPL), not a Dow component, gained 1.9%.
Other technology components also strengthened, with both Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) up 0.3%.
The Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) gained 0.3%, while the Standard & Poor's 500-share index (SPX) rose 0.2%, led by its technology and materials sectors. Financials and energy lagged, as crude-oil prices edged down slightly.
Helping boost the housing outlook, the S&P Case-Shiller home prices index showed Tuesday that prices in 10 major metropolitan areas were flat in January from a year earlier, while the index for 20 major metropolitan areas dropped 0.7% year over year. The readings last grew on a year-to-year basis in January 2007.
Compared with December, the 10-area index fell 0.2% and the 20-area index declined 0.4%. Adjusted for seasonal factors, the 10-city index rose 0.4% on month in January, while the 20-city composite climbed 0.3%.
The dollar strengthened against the euro and the yen. Gold futures declined. Treasurys were mixed, with the two-year note slightly up and the 10-year note down to yield 3.877%.
Among stocks in focus, LDK Solar (LDK) shares tumbled 9.2% in early trades after its quarterly loss was worse than analyst estimates.
Irish banks saw dramatic declines for a second day, with American depositary shares of Allied Irish Banks PLC (AIB) falling 8.9% ahead of the Irish government's announcement on the stake they will take and the haircut they will demand for accepting risky loans.
But the U.S. shares of UBS AG (UBS) rose edged up 0.3% after saying fixed-income revenue was nearly $2.3 billion during the first quarter.
Miners may get attention Tuesday after Brazilian mining giant Vale (RIO) said Japanese steelmakers will pay 90% more for iron ore as the companies move to quarterly rather than annual prices.
Weighing on the Dow, Alcoa (AA) slipped 0.4% as metals futures were mixed. Caterpillar (CAT) fell 0.6%.