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Stocks Close Lower as Consumer Confidence Slipped This Month

<p>Stocks end lower as a decline in consumer confidence outweighs better-than-expected earnings from Home Depot.</p>
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Stocks slipped on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 backing off from a record close, as a decline in consumer confidence outweighed better-than-expected earnings from Home Depot.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed unofficially 27 points lower, the S&P 500 was off 2 points and the Nasdaq fell 5 points.

The closely-watched S&P/Case Shiller composite index of home prices in 20 metro areas gained 0.8 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis. The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence declined to 78.1 in February from a revised 79.4 reading in January. Economists polled by Reuters expected this month's reading to come in at 80.

Home Depot's shares rose 4 percent after the home-improvement retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street's estimates, and hiked its quarterly dividend by 21 percent. Tesla shares rose 13 percent after the electric carmaker's Model S was the top overall pick among those surveyed by Consumer Reports.

The U.S. dollar fell as Treasury prices rose.