Stocks Mixed Early Tuesday

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are mixed in early trading Tuesday as investors wait for Congress to start voting on a tax bill that would lower corporate tax rates. Technology companies, which have done far better than the rest of the market all year, are down but smaller companies are doing better.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 1 point to 2,689 as of 10:05 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 24,773.The Nasdaq composite shed 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,982.

Apple fell $1.36 to $175.07 after it closed at a new high on Monday. Facebook lost $1.70 to $179.12.

Smaller companies fared better. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks held steady. The S&P's index of mid-size and smaller companies were also unchanged.

TAXES: Republicans are scheduled to start voting on their tax package later in the day. They appear to have enough support to approve the bill, which would cut the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, among other changes. Investors like that because it would boost corporate profits and likely raise stock prices along with it. The bill would initially cut taxes for most Americans but by 2027 would increase tax bills for most.

ENGINEERING A DEAL: Offshore drilling platform maker McDermott International said it will acquire engineering, procurement and construction services company Chicago Bridge & Iron. The companies valued the deal at $6 billion. McDermott fell 57 cents, or 7.5 percent, to $7.02 and CB&I lost $1.02, or 5.7 percent, to $16.90.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.43 percent from 2.39 percent.

ZIMMER ZIPS HIGHER: Medical device maker Zimmer Biomet climbed after it named Bryan Hanson to be its new CEO. Hanson most recently led at Medtronic's minimally invasive therapies business. Former CEO David Dvorak left the company in July. Zimmer gained $5.41, or 4.7 percent, to $119.84.

HOLD THE GUAC: Jack in the Box is selling its Qdoba Mexican restaurant chain to private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $350 million. The chain of 700 stores has been struggling and Jack in the Box has been considering selling it. Jack in the Box, which has 2,200 restaurants, rose $1.81, or 1.8 percent, to $102.15.

EARNINGS: Darden Restaurants, the parent of the Olive Garden chain, climbed $3.27, or 3.6 percent, to $93.81. Darden raised its annual profit forecast after its second-quarter profit and sales surpassed Wall Street's expectations. Cruise line operator Carnival also got off to a good start as increased ticket prices helped its business in its latest quarter. Carnival added $1.35, or 2 percent, to $67.95.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 13 cents to $57.29 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 13 cents to $63.54 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.79 yen from 112.56 yen. The euro rose to $1.1814 from $1.1784.

OVERSEAS: The DAX in Germany dipped 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 gave up 0.2 percent. In Britain, the FTSE 100 rose 0.1 percent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.2 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent. The Kospi in Seoul declined 0.1 percent.

(BE)