(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a flat note as investors weighed a mixed set of domestic economic data and earnings reports.
S&P 500 Index added 0.11 percent to finish at 1,405.51. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.06 percent lower to end at 13,164.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.46 percent to close at 3,030.93.
On the U.S. economic front, The New York Federal Reserve's empire state index for August slipped into negative territory for the first time since October 2011, dropping 13 points to a negative reading of 5.9 from a positive 7.4 in July. Economists expected a reading of 6.5.
Separately, a data showed that core consumer price inflation rose 0.1 percent in July, ending a streak of four straight 0.2 percent increases. Economists expected a gain of 0.2 percent. The headline index was little changed last month, coming in below expectations of a rise of 0.2 percent.
A report from the Federal Reserve showed that industrial production rose in July by 0.6 percent versus expectations for an increase of 0.5 percent.
The National Association of Home Builders' housing-market index hit a new five-year high with the index rising to 37 in August from 35 in July.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: SPLS, ANF, TGT, DE, CSCO, JDSU, GEF, BKS
In corporate news, Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) plunged 14.53 percent after the office products company reported a fall in quarterly earnings, missing market expectations, citing softer-than-expected sales trends in North America and ongoing weakness in Europe and Australia. The company also slashed its forecast for the year.
Deere & Co. (NYSE:DE) retreated 6.28 percent after the company reduced its fiscal 2012 growth outlook following lower-than-expected quarterly earnings.
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) gained 8.97 percent after the apparel retailer posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings. Its second-quarter earnings halved from the year-ago period amid a drop in comparable store sales and contraction of margins and the company backed its guidance for 2012.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) advanced 2.88 percent in extended trading after the networking company posted better-than-expected fourth quarter results. The company earned 47 cents a share on sales of $11.7 billion, while Wall Street analysts expected earnings of 46 cents on sales of $11.6 billion.
Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT) added 1.72 percent after the discount retail giant raised its earnings forecast following better-than-expected quarterly results. The company also guided third-quarter above Wall Street expectations.
JDS Uniphase Corp. (NASDAQ:JDSU) jumped 8.24 percent after the provider of communications test products posted quarterly results that topped Wall Street expectations.
Greif Inc. (NYSE:GEF) fell 5.40 percent after the producer of industrial packaging products slashed its earnings forecast for the full year due to lower-than-expected volumes for its rigid industrial packaging and flexible products businesses in the third quarter.
Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE:BKS) lost 5.79 percent. Shares of the bookseller were downgraded to "Hold" from "Buy" by brokerage Stifel Nicolaus.
European markets closed in red, with Germany's DAX dropping 0.40 percent to close at 6,946.80. France's CAC40 dipped 0.03 percent to finish at 3,449.20. U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 0.54 percent to end at 5,833.04.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index shed 1.10 percent to finish at 2,118.94. Japan's Nikkei 225 edged 0.05 percent lower to end at 8,925.04. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled 1.18 percent to end at 20,052.29. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,728.20, up 0.54 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures rose 0.88 percent to $94.250 per barrel while natural gas futures dropped 2.79 percent to $2.755 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures added 0.29 percent to $1,607 per ounce and silver futures gained 0.18 percent to $27.896 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro shed 0.28 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2288. The British pound inched up 0.07 percent against the greenback to 1.5688, and the dollar gained 0.18 percent against the Japanese yen to 78.8800.