Autodata Corp. reported U.S. sales 13 percent above September 2011 with the largest gains made by foreign firms Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen. Still, 1.2 million auto sales in the month suggests consumers remain in a buying mood and have the finances to manage an item as expensive as a car or truck.
By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average shed 32.75 points or 0.24 percent to 13,482.36. The Nasdaq composite index added 6.51 points or 0.21 percent to 3,120.04. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 1.26 points or 0.09 percent to 1,445.75.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,600 stocks advanced and 1,402 declined on a volume of 3.2 million shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note rose 1/32 to yield 1.623 percent.
The euro rose to $1.2916 from Monday's $1.2888. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 78.16 yen from 78.02 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index shed 0.12 percent, 10.46, to 8,786.05.
In London, the FTSE 100 index dropped 0.19 percent, 11 points, to 5,809.45.