"We entered into the week pretty overbought, with too much optimism in the market," said chief investment strategist Bruce Bittles at Robert W. Baird & Co.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the S&P, which dropped 10 points Tuesday, has just completed its longest stretch of weekly advances in nearly 10 years. The S&P and the Dow Jones industrial average have both set multiple all-time closing highs this year and the Nasdaq index closed above 4,000 last week for the first time in 13 years.
On Tuesday, the blue-chip Dow index gave up 94.15 points or 0.59 percent to 15,914.62. The S&P dropped 5.75 points, 0.32 percent, to 1,795.15. The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index shed 8.06 points or 0.2 percent to close at 4037.20.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,206 stocks advanced while 1,893 declined on a trading volume of 3.4 billion shares.
The London FTSE 100 index shed 62.90 points, or 0.95 percent, at 6,532.43. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index added 94.59 points, or 0.6 percent, ending at 15,749.66.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 2.785 percent, up 4/32.
On currency markets, the euro edged lower against the dollar to $1.3593. The dollar fell to 102.41 against the yen.
January crude oil futures gained $2.26 or 2.41 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange to settle at $96.09 a barrel.
On the exchange's Comex division, gold futures shed 10 cents or 0.01 percent to hit $1,221.80 an ounce.
Corn for March contracts added 6.75 cents to end at $4.3125 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for March delivery added 7.25 cents to $6.69 a bushel, while January soybeans dropped 1.5 cents to close at $13.1975 a bushel.
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