NEW YORK — A disappointing report on housing starts sent stocks lower Tuesday despite some better-than-expected news on corporate earnings.
The major indexes each fell about half a percent, and the Dow industrials lost 50 points.
Stocks retreated from 2009 highs after the Commerce Department said applications for home building permits fell 1.2% in September, the largest amount in five months.
A rebound from 14-month lows in the dollar's value against other major currencies also hurt stocks by driving down commodities prices and, in turn, sending energy and materials shares lower.
The housing data and the stronger dollar overshadowed strong earnings reports from Apple, Caterpillar and health insurer UnitedHealth Group.
Earnings are likely to dominate trading today. After the close of Tuesday's trading, Yahoo and SanDisk reported profits that were well ahead of analyst expectations. The stocks gained in after-hours trading.