* Indexes down: Dow 0.2 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were slightly lower on Tuesday, pulling back from the gain indicated by futures, as the dollar rose and weighed on multinational names.
Major indexes are on track for a negative month, though they remain set to gain over the third quarter. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are both on track for their seventh straight quarterly advance.
The U.S. Dollar index rose 0.5 percent against a basket of currencies, up for its sixth time in the past eight sessions to a four-year high.
“The dollar can absolutely become a headwind to U.S. companies, and if a lot cite the dollar for weakness in sales, that could really translate to the stock market,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Tuz cited tobacco giant Philip Morris as the kind of company that could take a hit from the strengthening dollar. “Earnings estimates have really come down there in part due to the dollar. We own it, but we’re not in the mood to buy more until things stabilize.”
Philip Morris shares fell 0.3 percent.
Stock futures had pointed to modest gains, but began to pull back after the S&P/Case Shiller index of home prices showed less growth than expected in July.
In other discouraging reads on the economy, the pace of business activity in the U.S. Midwest decelerated in September, according to the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago’s business barometer, while consumer confidence unexpectedly dropped to its lowest level since May.
Investors also continued to keep a close eye on Hong Kong, where thousands of pro-democracy activists extended a blockade to protest the Chinese government.
The Dow Jones industrial average was falling 25.3 points, or 0.15 percent, to 17,045.92, the S&P 500 was losing 3.99 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,973.81 and the Nasdaq Composite was dropping 12.96 points, or 0.29 percent, to 4,492.89.
Declining issues were outnumbering advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,900 to 858, for a 2.21-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,552 issues were falling and 717 advancing for a 2.16-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 7 new 52-week highs and 8 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 26 new highs and 34 new lows. (Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Chizu Nomiyama and Nick Zieminski)