NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks slipped in early trading Tuesday as investors reacted to an unexpectedly steep decline in consumer confidence this month. The weak start came a day after the Standard & Poor's 500 index came within a point of closing at another record high.

NEW YORK (AP) U.S. stocks slipped in early trading Tuesday as investors reacted to an unexpectedly steep decline in consumer confidence this month. The weak start came a day after the Standard & Poor's 500 index came within a point of closing at another record high.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average fell 20 points, or 0.1 percent, at 16,184 in the first hour of trading. The S&P 500 lost three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,844 and the Nasdaq composite lost five points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,288.

CONSUMERS SHAKEY: The Conference Board's index of consumer confidence fell to 78.1 in February from 80.7 the month before, less than the 80.1 level economists were expecting. The report is a closely watched indicator of how likely consumers are to spend money and keep the economy moving forward.

SICKLY TENET: Hospital management company Tenet Healthcare fell $2.71, or 6 percent, to $45.62 after the company reported a quarterly loss in the fourth quarter. Tenet took on more debt because of an acquisition and a stock repurchase.

HOME DEPOT, IMPROVING: The nation's largest home improvement chain rose $1.94, or 3 percent, to $79.78. While Home Depot reported a decline in net income from a year earlier, the results still beat analysts' expectations. Home Depot also raised its dividend 21 percent.

BACK NEAR A RECORD HIGH: The S&P 500 barely missed hitting another record high on Monday. It closed at 1,847.61, less than a point from its record close of 1,848.38 set on Jan. 15. Both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 are positive for 2014, while the Dow is still down 2 percent.