Ahead of the Christmas break, Wall Street hovered near record highs on Tuesday as investors paused after a rally that was fueled by improving U.S.-China trade relations and optimism about the health of the domestic economy.
The Nasdaq hit an all-time high, while the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 and were just shy of the record closing highs from Monday.
President Donald Trump further fanned hopes of a trade truce over the weekend by saying the two countries would sign a Phase 1 deal in a very short period of time.
Mark Heppenstall at Penn Mutual Asset management in Horsham, Pennsylvania noted: “The mood is a little choppier today than in recent days, but the recent rally has been pretty fast and furious.”
“In all likelihood, markets are just taking a little breather,” he said. “There is little bit of a panic buying in the markets, which is the exact opposite of what was happening at this point last year.”
The benchmark S&P 500 index is poised for its best year since 2013, in sharp contrast to the same period last year when the market was at the tail end of a severe swoon that saw the index come close to confirming a bear market.
At 11:11 a.m. ET, the Nasdaq Composite was up 3.54 points, or 0.04%, at 8,949.19, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 19.94 points, or 0.07%, at 28,531.49. The S&P 500 was down 0.36 points, or 0.01%, at 3,223.65.
As traders settle in for the holidays, volumes are expected to be thin this week. The main U.S. stock exchanges will close at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday and remain shut on Wednesday.
Out of 11 major S&P sectors, four were in the red, with losses in industrials shares weighing the most.
Among stocks, shares of Uber rose by more than 1% after the company said founder and former Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick will resign from the board by the end of the year.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.32-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.17-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The Nasdaq recorded 61 new highs and 21 new lows, while the S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and no new lows.