Wall Street edges lower a day after Dow, S&P set records
US stocks dipped in thin volume, with the Dow and the S&P 500 retreating from yesterday's record closing levels as traders found few reasons to buy following a string of gains. A rise in semiconductor companies' shares limited losses.
About half of the 10 primary S&P 500 sector indexes were down for the day, led by telecom, which fell 1 percent.
Monday marked the Dow's second straight record closing high, while it was the third consecutive record close for the S&P 500. However, recent advances were made on light volume, indicating that the rally has lacked conviction.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 21.29 points or 0.13 percent, to end at 16,722.34. The S&P 500 inched down just 0.73 of a point or 0.04 percent, to 1,924.24. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.12 points or 0.07 percent, to 4,234.08.
European shares also slipped today in thin volumes and some benchmark indexes retreated from multi-year highs as investors held back from chasing stocks higher before Thursday's European Central Bank meeting.
Expectations of fresh measures by the central bank to support the region's fragile economic recovery and avoid deflation were cemented after data showed euro zone inflation unexpectedly fell last month.
The ECB is widely expected to trim its refinancing rate, send its deposit rate into negative territory and launch a long-term refinancing operation (LTRO) targeted at businesses.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares lost 0.4 percent to end at 1,374.78 points, after hitting a 6-1/2 high on Monday. Trading volumes on the benchmark index represented only about three quarters of its average daily volume of the past three months.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 0.2 percent, to 3,241.04 points, while Germany's DAX , which hit a record high on Monday just below the 10,000 mark, ended down 0.3 percent, at 9,919.74.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average closed at a fresh two-month high after investors took heart from upbeat US manufacturing data, while the weaker yen spurred buying in exporters and index-heavyweight stocks such as SoftBank Corp.
The Nikkei ended 0.7 percent higher at 15,034.25, the highest closing level since April 4. The broader Topix gained 0.7 percent to 1,228.59, while the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 0.7 percent to 11,192.47.