Beazer Homes, Ryland Group and other homebuilder stocks fell after a survey showed that the industry's confidence in the housing market remains low.
Coca-Cola rose after reporting higher sales of non-carbonated beverages. Johnson & Johnson rose 2 per cent after reporting higher profits.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell six points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,824 as of noon (1600 GMT).
The Dow Jones industrial average shed 54 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 16,119. The Nasdaq composite dropped 46 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 3,977.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.61 per cent.