The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 47.24 points (0.30 percent) at 16,049.13.
The broad-based S&P 500 rose 2.32 (0.12 percent) to 1,884.09, but the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 26.65 (0.59 percent) to 4,517.32.
US stocks had their strongest gains of the day after the Conference Board reported that the US consumer confidence index rose to 103.0, besting expectations for a sharp drop.
But trade was volatile thereafter, leaving the Nasdaq lower amid lingering anxiety over global growth and US monetary policy.
Several big technology stocks fell, including Apple (-3.0 percent), Amazon (-1.6 percent), Facebook (-2.9 percent) and Netflix (-1.1 percent).
But many biotech stocks enjoyed a positive session after suffering declines over the last week. Amgen rose 1.2 percent, Gilead Sciences 1.3 percent and Biogen 2.2 percent.
Yahoo advanced 2.4 percent on news it will still seek a sale of its Alibaba holdings. The technology company said it would pursue the transaction despite not getting a guarantee that US tax officials would permit the transaction to qualify as tax-free.
Dow member McDonald's rose 1.6 percent following an upgrade from Credit Suisse, which said the fast-food giant's sales outlook is starting to improve after a run of disappointing results.
Dow member Johnson & Johnson advanced 1.8 percent following an upgrade from Deutsche Bank, which predicted strong growth ahead for its pharmaceutical business.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.06 percent from 2.10 percent Monday, while the 30-year dipped to 2.86 percent from 2.88 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.