Wall Street slipped overnight as a report showed Japan's economic growth fell short of expectations, adding to lacklustre data closer to home.
Japan's gross domestic product grew at an annualised 2.6 per cent in the second quarter, after expanding a revised 3.8 per cent in the previous three months. To be sure, some say it was not all bad news.
"Headline GDP was poor but consumption is higher and deflation is becoming less of a problem," Stuart Beavis, head of institutional equity derivatives at Vantage Capital Markets in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.
In late afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.20 per cent, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index shed 0.23 per cent. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.18 per cent.
Declines in shares of Walt Disney, Boeing and Coca-Cola led the Dow lower.
"There are very few negative catalysts, but there's also a lack of positive catalysts," Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York, told Reuters.
Meanwhile, shares of BlackBerry soared, last up 11.4 per cent, as the company said it is exploring alternatives, including a possible sale.
"The company's board of directors has formed a Special Committee to explore strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale in order to accelerate BlackBerry 10 deployment," BlackBerry said in a statement. "These alternatives could include, among others, possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the company or other possible transactions."
Other gainers included Apple shares, last up 3 per cent, as the company won a patent-infringement battle against Samsung Electronics. Separately, AllThingsD reported Apple is expected to unveil its revamped iPhone next month.
Investors are eying the latest report on US retail sales due tomorrow. Also on Tuesday, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is scheduled to speak on the economic outlook, which will be scrutinised for any clues about the potential and timing of a downsizing in the Fed's bond-buying program.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index inched nearly 0.1 per cent higher, while Germany's DAX gained 0.3 per cent. The UK's FTSE 100 Index and France's CAC 40 each fell 0.1 per cent.
While Greece's economy improved slightly in the latest quarter, the country remains mired in recession, government statistics showed.
On commodity markets, gold rose amid increased demand from China.
"Physical demand, especially out of China, continues to support prices," Michael Smith, the president of T&K Futures & Options in Port St Lucie, Florida, told Bloomberg News. "The sentiment is bullish today."