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Stocks close mixed; Dow ekes out first 4-month win streak since 2014

U.S. stocks closed mixed Tuesday, the last trading day of May, as investors eyed economic reports for indications on the timing of the next rate hike.

"The data today was somewhat mixed," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. "Perhaps investors (are) still weighing the implications of higher, short-term rates."

The Dow Jones industrial average clung to mild gains for the month, marking its first four-month win streak since June 2014. ( Tweet This ) The S&P 500 closed 1.5 percent higher for the month, its first three-month win streak since June 2014. U.S. markets were closed Monday for Memorial Day.

The major averages ended well off session lows, with the Nasdaq composite closing higher to post monthly gains of 3.6 percent. Shares of Amazon.com hit a fresh all-time high and posted three-straight months of gains.

Traders attributed the intraday decline to profit-taking after last week's gains and some disappointing reads on consumer confidence and regional manufacturing.

"Going into June I think there's a lot of risk on the table," said John Caruso, senior market strategist at RJO Futures. Both OPEC and the European Central Bank are due to meet this week, ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting and the "Brexit" vote scheduled for later in the month.

Declines in oil prices also weighed. WTI futures settled down 23 cents, or 0.47 percent, at $49.10 a barrel, but still posting its first four-month win streak since 2011.

Energy, materials and consumer staples closed about half a percent lower as the greatest decliners in the S&P 500, which failed to hold above the psychologically key 2,100 level in the close. The index has closed above that level only twice so far this year: on April 19 and 20.

"We're obviously running into some technical resistance on the S&P 500. This market's been following the technicals very closely for the last few months," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.

Boeing had the greatest negative impact on the Dow, which fell as much as 149 points before closing about 86 points lower.

The U.S. dollar index was more than a third of a percent higher, with the euro around $1.113 and the yen near 110.7 yen against the greenback. The dollar index gained 3 percent in May for its best month since November.

Treasury yields were lower, with the 2-year yield lower around 0.88 percent after earlier hitting 0.938 percent, its highest in a week. The 10-year yield held lower around 1.85 percent after hitting a high of 1.89 percent, its highest since late April.

Ahead of the jobs report due Friday, the Chicago PMI came in below expectations and in contraction territory at 49.3 in May.

The Dallas Fed manufacturing index declined from minus 13.9 to minus 20.8 in May.

Consumer confidence was 92.6 in May, down from 94.7 in April.

Read MoreThis week's data should tell whether Fed ready to take plunge

In other economic news, personal spending increased 1 percent in April, the biggest gain in more than six years. Personal income rose 0.4 percent.

The core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index that excludes food and energy rose 0.2 percent last month after edging up 0.1 percent increase in March. In the 12 months through April the core PCE rose 1.6 percent after a similar increase in March.

The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 5.4 percent year-over-year in March, matching the increase the month before and beating the 5.2 percent estimate from a Reuters poll of economists.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIA
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S&P 500
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NASDAQ
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European stocks closed more than half a percent lower with bank stocks underperforming. The German DAX gained 2.2 percent in May for its first three-month win streak since March 2015.

Asian stocks closed higher, with the Nikke 225 up nearly 1 percent. The Shanghai composite outperformed with a 3.3 percent jump, following news Goldman Sachs increased to 70 percent the probability that MSCI will include mainland Chinese A shares in its global indexes. The decision is expected June 14.

Read More Early movers: CAG, WR, VZ, SBUX, MDT, MU, VIAB, TDG, BABA & more

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 86.09 points, or 0.48 percent, at 17,787.13, with DuPont leading decliners and Microsoft the top advancer.

The Dow gained 0.08 percent for the month, with Apple the top performer and Caterpillar the worst.

The S&P 500 closed down 2.11 points, or 0.10 percent, at 2,096.95, with energy leading six sectors lower and utilities the top advancer.

The index rose 1.53 percent for the month, with tech the top performer and energy the worst.

The Nasdaq composite closed up 14.55 points, or 0.29 percent, at 4,948.05.

The Nasdaq gained 3.62 percent for the month. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) gained 4.4 percent for the month, its best month since October 2015.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded higher above 14.

About eight stocks advanced for every seven decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 1.4 billion and a composite volume of nearly 4.3 billion in the close.

Gold futures for August delivery settled 80 cents higher at $1,217.50 an ounce.

On tap this week:

Wednesday

May vehicle sales

9:45 a.m. Manufacturing PMI

10 a.m. ISM manufacturing, construction spending

2 p.m. Beige book

Thursday

OPEC meeting

7:45 a.m. European Central Bank rate decision

8:15 a.m. ADP employment

8:30 a.m. ECB President Mario Draghi press briefing

8:30 a.m. Initial claims

10:30 a.m. Natural Gas inventories

11 a.m. Oil Inventories

1 p.m. Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan

Friday

3:45 a.m. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans in London

8:30 a.m. Employment report

8:30 a.m. International trade

9:45 a.m. Services PMI

10 a.m. ISM non-manufacturing

10 a.m. Factory orders

12:30 p.m. Fed Governor Lael Brainard at Council on Foreign Relations, DC

1 p.m. Rig count

Saturday

3 a.m. Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester

*Planner subject to change.

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the gold settle.

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