By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Tuesday as investors refrained from making big bets ahead of the Christmas Day holiday, with equity indexes at record highs.
Markets will close early on Tuesday and remain shut until Thursday for the holiday. Trading is expected to be very light during the day's shortened session, with many market participants out of the office. The light action could allow for greater volatility.
Wall Street rallied on Monday, with both the Dow and S&P 500 advancing to all-time highs while the Nasdaq climbed to its highest since August 2000. Further upside may be limited at these levels, especially in the absence of major trading catalysts.
"Investors have taken their positions for the year, so what we're seeing is a market pause to digest the very strong rally we've had," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.
In the latest economic data, orders for durable goods rose 3.5 percent in November, above expectations for a jump of 2 percent. Separately, new home sales fell modestly from a five-year high in November.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 34.35 points, or 0.21 percent, at 16,328.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 2.47 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,830.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.42 points, or 0.03 percent, at 4,150.32.
The S&P 500 has soared about 28 percent this year, largely due to stimulus measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve. The index is on track for its best year since 1997. The Dow is up 24.6 percent in 2013 while the Nasdaq has jumped 37.4 percent.
Target Corp's general counsel, Timothy Baer, spoke with top state prosecutors on Monday to address their concerns about a massive data breach, as consumer lawsuits piled up against the retailer and two U.S. senators called for a federal probe. Shares fell 0.6 percent to $61.51.
Walt Disney Co named Twitter Inc co-founder Jack Dorsey an independent board director. Shares of Disney, a Dow component, rose 0.3 percent to $73.52 while Twitter rose 3 percent to $66.42.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)