Stocks struggled for direction on Tuesday, with investors’ growth concerns and worries over the Delta variant’s spread at least temporarily outweighing optimism over a batch of better-than-expected quarterly earnings results.

The S&P 500 and Dow each fluctuated between small gains and losses. The Nasdaq traded lower as Big Tech stocks came under selling pressure.

Under Armour’s (UAA) stock rose after the athletic-wear maker topped second-quarter sales estimates and boosted its full-year earnings outlook. Simon Property Group (SPG) shares also advanced after the company posted second-quarter results that handily exceeded estimates, raised its guidance and increased its dividend, with the mall real estate operator seeing occupancy rates and foot traffic improving alongside the reopening of the economy. Shares of video game-maker Take-Two Interactive (TTWO), however, fell after the company’s current-quarter forecast missed estimates, overshadowing an otherwise better-than-expected print on profit and sales for its latest quarter.

Overall, the three major stock indexes have drifted in recent session as investors await more catalysts from corporate earnings results, economic data and policymakers.

“We’re going through a couple of transitions right now at the same time,” George Mateyo, Key Private Bank chief investment officer, told Yahoo Finance. “The first one, of course, is this deceleration in growth. We’ve seen this massive lift-off and growth since the pandemic.”

“Secondly, we have to contend with the Fed and with their transition as well, both on the leadership side and also with respect to policy,” he added. “And then third … we’ve got the Delta variant as well to consider, in terms of transitioning potentially to a new wave of cases in the COVID-19 situation.”

In terms of the growth outlook, Friday’s July jobs report from the Labor Department will help provide a better sense of how much more ground the labor market has recovered this summer, and whether the economy is closing in on the threshold of recovery to prompt a pivot to the Federal Reserve’s ultra-supportive monetary policy. And on Tuesday, companies including Lyft (LYFT), Match Group (MTCH) and Avis Budget Group (CAR) are slated to report quarterly results.

Despite Monday’s drift, stocks are still holding close to record levels, supported by the combination of overall strong second-quarter earnings results, an ongoing economic recovery and still-accommodative Federal Reserve. Some strategists are cautioning investors to remain vigilant, however, given stocks’ elevated valuations, and the relatively long stretch of time since equities’ last pullback. U.S. stocks have gone more than 180 trading days without a 5% correction, in one of the 15 longest stretches for the equity market without such a pullback, according to recent research from Goldman Sachs.

“There was almost a level of perfection priced into the market coming into the summer, and a reopening that was really strong as well,” Ross Mayfield, Baird investment strategy analyst, told Yahoo Finance.” I do think there’s a lot of things working against the market near-term both from a technical and fundamental perspective. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see some volatility and maybe a bit of a correction here in the near-term before resuming what should still be a really strong structural bull market.”

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11:15 a.m. ET: Stocks mixed as technology shares come under pressure

The three major indexes struggled for direction Tuesday mid-morning, with the Nasdaq lagging against the other two equity indexes as technology stocks fell. The communication services sector underperformed in the S&P 500 alongside the information technology sector. 

Shares of Disney, Visa and McDonald’s were the biggest laggards in the 30-stock Dow. And of the Big Tech names, only Apple rose in intraday trading, while each of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet sank. The small-cap Russell 2000 also dipped, as did U.S. crude oil futures, which briefly fell below $70 per barrel. 

10:34 a.m. ET: June factory orders rose more than expected, extending May gain 

Factory orders in June rose more than economists were expecting, underscoring persistently strong demand for manufactured goods even as consumers shifted their spending back toward services as the economy reopened.

Factory orders increased 1.5% in June compared to May, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. This came following a 2.3% rise during the prior month, which was upwardly revised from the prior month’s 1.7% increase. Consensus economists were looking for a rise of 1.0% for June, according to Bloomberg data. 

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher after string of strong earnings 

Here’s where markets were trading shortly after the opening bell:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +9.5 (+0.22%) to 4,396.66

  • Dow (^DJI): +83.72 (+0.24%) to 34,921.88

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +8.39 (+0.06%) to 14,681.07

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.69 (-2.37%) to $69.57 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$6.60 (-0.36%) to $1,815.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): unchanged, yielding 1.174%

8:13 a.m. ET: Tencent shares slid after Chinese state-run news outlet assails video game maker 

Shares of Chinese technology giant Tencent (0700.HK) listed in Hong Kong fell 6% on Tuesday after a media outlet with ties to the Chinese government assailed the company and called online games “spiritual opium.” 

The media outlet the Economic Information Daily called out one of Tencent’s video games in the article, which was subsequently deleted. Tencent, however, said Tuesday it would work to stem minors’ time spent on its video games following the article. 

The article comes amid a major crackdown in China against the country’s biggest technology companies, with regulatory scrutiny hitting names from Didi Global (DIDI) to Baidu (BIDU). American depository receipts of both companies fell in early trading Tuesday morning following the article. 

7:45 a.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures hold onto overnight gains as more earnings top estimates

Here’s where markets were trading Tuesday morning:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +14.25 points (+0.33%) at 4,394.00

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +156 points (+0.45%) to 34,877.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +9.75 points (+0.07%) to 14,962.5

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.34 (+0.48%) to $71.60 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$9.30 (-0.51%) to $1,812.90 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.8 bps to yield 1.19%

6:10 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures advance

Here’s where markets were trading Monday evening: 

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): +4 points (+0.09%) at 4,383.75

  • Dow futures (YM=F): +40 points (+0.12%) to 34,761.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): +9.75 points (+0.07%) to 14,962.5

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, on July 29, 2021. - Wall Street stocks climbed early July 29 following another round of mostly strong earnings and US data that showed strong second-quarter growth that lagged expectations. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, on July 29, 2021. - Wall Street stocks climbed early July 29 following another round of mostly strong earnings and US data that showed strong second-quarter growth that lagged expectations. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, on July 29, 2021. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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