At the market open, Wall Street cheered a better-than-expected retail sales report and some economists even added that the data could prompt analysts to raise their first-quarter growth forecastsfrom its current level of 2.5 percent.
However, a dismal reading on homebuilder sentiment caused the early rally to lose some steam, causing names such as Beazer and Lennar to reverse their gains.
Citigroup rose after the financial giant posted earnings that topped expectations, although revenue fell sharply. S&P raised its rating on the firm to "buy" from "hold." In addition, Barclays raised its price target on fellow financials JPMorgan and Wells Fargo .
Goldman Sachs is scheduled to post earnings Tuesday morning.
Also on the earnings front, Mattel plunged to lead the S&P 500 laggards after the toymaker's profit fell short of estimates, hurt by price increases on its Barbie and Hot Wheel toys.
Google and Oracle are due in court in San Francisco regarding their high-profile dispute over Smartphone technology rights. Settlement talks between Google CEO Larry Page and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison have so far failed.
Wal-Mart's CEO Mike Duke earned $18.1 million in compensation in 2011, slightly down from $18.7 million in the previous year, as sales growth at the big-box retailer fell short of its goals.
Also on the economic front, business inventories gained in Februaryto a record $1.58 trillion and sales also increased, according to the Commerce Department. But manufacturing activity in New York plunged to 6.56 in April from 20.21 in the previous month, according to the New York Fed's Empire State Manufacturing Survey.
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Coming Up This Week:
TUESDAY: Housing starts, industrial, Citigroup shareholders mtg, tax day; Earnings from Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, J&J, IBM, Intel, Yahoo
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, oil inventories; Earnings from Abbott Labs, BlackRock, Bank of NY Mellon, Halliburton, Ebay, Qualcomm, Yum Brands
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, existing home sales, Philadelphia Fed survey, leading indicators; Earnings from BofA, DuPont, Morgan Stanley, Nokia, Travelers, Verizon, Microsoft, AMD, Capital One, SanDisk
FRIDAY: Earnings from GE, McDonald's, Schlumberger
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