By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose on Tuesday after tame inflation data underscored the Federal Reserve's dovish stance on rate hikes, but the Dow ended down as Boeing's shares sank for a second day after one of its planes crashed in Ethiopia.
The Labor Department said its Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose last month, in line with estimates, and in the 12 months through February the CPI had the smallest gain since September 2016. U.S. Treasury yields fell following the news.
"Lower rates help hold stocks up because (they) allow for higher multiples," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
Boeing Co ended down 6.1 percent and registered its biggest two-day drop since June 2009, as more countries grounded the company's best-selling 737 MAX planes following Sunday's crash, the second fatal crash involving the plane in months.
Senators Mitt Romney and Elizabeth Warren also urged the Federal Aviation Administration to temporarily ground the aircraft.
The Dow Jones airlines index dropped 2 percent, while the S&P industrials index fell 0.9 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 96.22 points, or 0.38 percent, to 25,554.66, the S&P 500 gained 8.22 points, or 0.30 percent, to 2,791.52 and the Nasdaq Composite added 32.97 points, or 0.44 percent, to 7,591.03.
The S&P 500 rose as high as 2,798.32 during the session, just below a key technical level of 2,800. If it breaks above that level, that could signal further gains, some investors say.
The index briefly pared gains in afternoon U.S. trading following news that British lawmakers crushingly rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's deal to quit the European Union.
The news created further uncertainty over how and when the issue will get resolved, Hellwig said. "They were hoping to get something pushed across the line, but it didn't happen," he said.
Apple Inc climbed again on Tuesday, a day after the iPhone maker invited media to a March 25 event where it is expected to launch a television and video service.
F5 Networks Inc fell 7.7 percent after the network software maker said it would buy privately held NGINX.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.73-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.09-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 45 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 67 new highs and 21 new lows.
About 6.7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges. That compares with the 7.4 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days.
(Additional reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Phil Berlowitz and Susan Thomas)