Wall Street ends lower after recent highs; small caps raise concern
The S&P consumer discretionary index was down 1.1 percent and led the decline on the S&P 500. The S&P retail index lost 1.1 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 101.47 points, or 0.61 percent, to 16,613.97, the S&P 500 lost 8.92 points, or 0.47 percent, to 1,888.53, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 29.54 points, or 0.72 percent, to 4,100.63.
The S&P 500 is coming off three straight daily advances, marking record closing highs for the last two sessions. On Tuesday it climbed above 1,900 for the first time. The Dow ended at record highs for the three previous sessions.
The biggest drag on both the Dow and the S&P 500 was IBM, whose shares shed 1.8 percent to $188.72. IBM said in a filing it expects hardware profit to be flat year-over-year in 2014.
Among other decliners, Deere & Co fell 2 percent to $91.70. The farm equipment company cut its full-year sales outlook even as it reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
European shares paused today after a two-month rally that propelled a number of indexes to multi-year peaks, as investors awaited confirmation of more stimulus from the ECB before they chased the market higher.
Portuguese stocks sank, with Lisbon's PSI 20 falling 1.8 percent. They were led lower by banking stocks after a report said Millennium bcp was considering a capital increase to speed up repayment to the state of its contingent convertible bonds, or CoCos.
Shares in Millennium were down 4.8 percent. Banco Espirito Santo lost 3.4 percent.
The PSI 20 had outperformed broad European indexes in the first four months of the year, rising as much as 19 percent as the Portuguese bond yields dropped and investor confidence in the country improved.
But Portuguese stocks started to fall in mid-April, and the PSI 20 hit a near three-month low today.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was down 0.3 percent at 1,365.12 points, after climbing to a six-year high in the previous session. Germany's DAX dipped 0.1 percent, hovering below a record high it reached in January.
Shares in Mediaset featured among the biggest losers. They fell 7 percent after the Italian television company posted a net loss in the first quarter.
Compass gained 5 percent after the world's biggest catering firm said it would return 1 billion pounds ($1.68 billion) to shareholders through a special dividend.
European stocks had been lifted by expectations the European Central Bank would take new steps to keep inflation from staying too low. The FTSEurofirst 300 rose some 7 percent from lows in March.
Data showed euro zone industrial output fell as expected on the month in March and dropped unexpectedly year-on-year.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei average fell today, slipping from a 1-1/2-week high on profit-taking after big gains the previous day, while JGC Corp tumbled after forecasting dismal profit.
The benchmark Nikkei ended 0.1 percent lower at 14,405.76. Engineering company JGC plunged 13 percent and contributed 17.55 hefty negative points to the Nikkei after saying it expects a net profit of 42 billion yen for the year ending March 2015, a 11 percent drop on year. The broader Topix added 0.4 percent at 1,183.15 and the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.4 percent at 10,767.97.