NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged lower on Wednesday as investors found few reasons to keep pushing shares higher, with the Dow and S&P 500 both modestly coming off their record closing highs.
Traders are looking for fresh catalysts to keep the market’s momentum going amid mixed readings on the economy from data and corporate earnings, as well as the ongoing threat that the tension between Russia and Ukraine could escalate into further violence.
The S&P rose for a third straight day on Tuesday, climbing above 1,900 for the first time ever though the gains stalled going into the close.
“I don’t think there’s a concern about where stocks are, but investors should pay attention to what’s happening in various sectors since there are some that look expensive, like small-cap growth,” said Oliver Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, New York.
“Economic growth is still there, but a 5 percent correction is always possible.”
Deere & Co fell 1.6 percent to $92.08 after the farm equipment company cut its full-year sales outlook even as it reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit. Macy’s Inc rose 0.2 percent to $57.95 after announcing a dividend increase of 25 percent, but sales that were below expectations.
Small-cap shares have been in focus lately, with the Russell 2000 index down 0.6 percent in morning trading, extending a decline of 1.1 percent on Tuesday. Some analysts are concerned that persistent weakness in small-caps could spread throughout the market.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 35.19 points, or 0.21 percent, at 16,680.25. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 2.26 points, or 0.12 percent, at 1,895.19. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.60 points, or 0.04 percent, at 4,128.57.
Fossil Group Inc was the biggest decliner on the S&P 500 a day after it gave a second-quarter profit outlook that was much lower than expected, pressured by rising costs. Shares fell 8.4 percent to $102.12.
Yahoo Inc bought Blink, a mobile-messaging startup whose app lets users send messages that will self-destruct at a time set by the sender, for an undisclosed amount. Shares fell 0.9 percent to $34.09.
Sears Holding Corp fell 0.5 percent to $43.45 after earlier rising more than 1 percent. The company said it would hire an investment bank to help explore alternatives for its 51 percent stake in Sears Canada.
U.S. producer prices posted their largest increase in 1-1/2 years in April as the cost of food and trade services surged, hinting at some inflation pressures at the factory gate.
While the situation in Ukraine has not been a primary market mover this week, investors continue to watch the situation closely. On Tuesday, pro-Russian separatists ambushed Ukrainian troops, killing seven in the heaviest loss of life for government forces in a single clash.
Editing by Bernadette Baum