Wall Street flat as S&P 500 falls shy of record
The S&P 500 snapped a four-session winning streak, to end just shy of a third straight record closing high.
The benchmark index had gained for four straight sessions as investors' appetite for equities has been buoyed by supportive US economic data recently and expectations of monetary easing by the European Central Bank. The 10-year US Treasury note's yield slipped below 2.44 percent, its lowest level since July.
The drop in fixed-income yields could lift the prices of dividend-paying stocks. The S&P utilities index rose 0.5 percent. It was the S&P 500's best-performing sector.
The Dow Jones Transportation Average extended its run into record territory, ending at a lifetime high of 8,075.88 after hitting a record intraday high of 8,102.44. A total of 225 stocks on the Big Board and Nasdaq touched 52-week highs, while 59 issues hit 52-week lows. Notables touching 52-week highs included ConocoPhillips and Dow Chemical.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.32 points or 0.25 percent, to 16,633.18. The S&P 500 lost 2.13 points or 0.11 percent, to end at 1,909.78. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 11.99 points or 0.28 percent, to 4,225.08.
Portuguese shares outperformed mostly flat European equities, bolstered by reassuring signs from the country's largest listed banks.
Most other leading European indexes traded flat or slightly lower, though still close to multi-year highs, with declines by fashion brand Hugo Boss and consumer group Ahold weighing on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .
Lisbon's PSI 20 index, however, rose 1.1 percent. The country's second-largest bank, Millennium bcp, gained 4 percent after announcing it had repaid state loans held in contingent convertible bonds (CoCos).
The broader FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was off 0.1 percent at 1,377.67 points, after hitting its highest level in more than six years on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Japanese stocks rose for a fifth day as strong US data buoyed market sentiment, but Mitsui Fudosan Co fell on news it would raise as much as $3.6 billion by issuing new shares.
The benchmark Nikkei average ended 0.2 percent higher to 14,670.95. The broader Topix added 0.3 percent to 1,198.17, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.2 percent to 10,926.66.