"Investors are watching with interest to see the outcome of the Brexit vote today as it has been one of the uncertainties in the market that has been persistent". CPI excluding the volatile categories of food and energy - considered by many to be a strong indicator of underlying inflation - rose 2.1% year-over-year, slower than the 2.2% pace anticipated.
At 9:48 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 34.54 points, or 0.13 percent, at 25,616.34, the S&P 500 was up 6.19 points, or 0.22 percent, at 2,789.49 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 7.06 points, or 0.09 percent, at 7,565.12. The broader industrial sector was down 0.77 percent and the only major S&P sector in the red. London's FTSE 100 was also flat, at 7,156, while the pound dropped a sharp 1 percent on expectations that the latest version of Britain's Brexit deal with the European Union will be voted down by lawmakers on Tuesday.
Boeing weighed down the Dow Jones Industrial Average for a second day as the airplane maker falls amid safety concerns following another deadly crash involving its most popular plane.
The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed 32.97 points, or 0.4 percent, to 7,591.03.
Elsewhere, U.S. -China trade negotiations have continued this week as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He reportedly held a phone call with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday, according to China's state news agency Xinhua. Costly tariffs have hurt both nations and investors hope a deal can be struck to at least take some pressure off the global economy, which has shown signs of cooling off.
The news weighed on airline stocks. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.5 percent to 28,821.14 and Seoul's Kospi gained 0.9 percent to 2,157.18.
CURRENCIES: The dollar inched down to 111.21 yen from Tuesday's 111.26 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1256 from $1.1245.
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.
Bullion prices ended higher at Comex on Tuesday, 12 March 2019.
The S&P and Nasdaq futures edged higher on Monday after inflation data showed USA consumer prices in February rose for the first time in four months, but Boeing's fall for a second straight session pressured the Dow futures. Facebook rose 2.3 per cent and Morgan Stanley rose 1.3 per cent.
Boeing's stock was up 20% this year after Tuesday's sell-off.