U.S. stocks fluctuated, with benchmark indexes near records, after data showing housing starts surged to a seven-year high bolstered speculation the Federal Reserve may raise interest rates this year.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. slumped 4 percent after quarterly results missed estimates, while Urban Outfitters Inc. tumbled 17 percent after profit and sales were short of analysts’ projections. Energy shares slid with oil prices. Banks extended Monday’s gains amid rising bond yields. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. jumped 15 percent after its results beat forecasts.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose less than 0.1 percent to 2,129.62 at 1:07 p.m. in New York, after the gauge Monday reached an all-time high for a third straight session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 17.82 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,316.70 after also closing at a record. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.1 percent.

A report today showed new residential construction surged in April to the highest level since November 2007, while more permits, a proxy for future construction, were issued than at any time since June 2008.

Source : Bloomberg