A pickup in U.S. home construction sent the stocks of home builders higher.
The Dow Jones industrial average gave up an early gain of 62 points and was down 18 points to 14,445 at midday Tuesday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell four to 1,547. The Nasdaq composite fell eight to 3,228 points.
Worries about the latest threat to Europe's currency union were still weighing on markets.
Banks in Cyprus are closed until Thursday while the country considers demands from lenders to seize money from depositors' savings accounts to pay for a bailout of the country's banks and government.