Wall Street closed lower in profit-taking Tuesday after Monday's big gain, though the market held on reasonably well despite a surprising...

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NEW YORK — Wall Street closed lower in profit-taking Tuesday after Monday’s big gain, though the market held on reasonably well despite a surprising drop in consumer confidence.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 7.13 to 10,377.87, having lost more than 68 points earlier in the session. The Dow shot up 169 points Monday.

Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, slipped 7 cents to close at $25.03. Boeing, also a Dow stock, fell 35 cents to $66.97.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 2.84 to 1,196.54, and the Nasdaq composite index lost 6.38 to 2,109.45.

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The major indexes were down for much of the day, then recovered most of their losses in late trading. Still, the market’s give and take reflected the unknowns facing investors.

Wall Street continued to worry about inflation in the face of slow economic growth and warnings of declining fourth-quarter sales or profits from major companies.

Stocks were pressured as the Conference Board reported its consumer-confidence index fell to 85 in October, down from 86.6 in September and less than the 88 reading economists had expected.

The unexpected drop raised new concerns about consumer spending just a month before the start of the holiday-shopping season.

“We’re in a market that is clearly in a little short-term decision box,” said Rod Smyth, chief investment strategist at Wachovia Securities. “It’s the debate whether core inflation remains low, which allows the Fed to stop raising rates, or whether core inflation is not able to be contained. We’ll get a progression of data and numbers that will help resolve this somewhat, but until then, we’re in the box.”

Adding to investors’ worries, oil prices rebounded sharply after losing ground in the previous trading session. A barrel of light crude settled at $62.44, up $2.12, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other economic news, existing home sales for September, reported by the National Association of Realtors, were steady at an annualized rate of 7.28 million homes, slightly higher than expected due to higher demand for new homes among refugees from Hurricane Katrina.