James Doherty, foreground left, works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. Stocks are opening mostly higher on Wall Street following strong earnings reports from Google, IBM and railroad operator CSX. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks drifted lower in trading today, pulling the Standard & Poor's 500 index back from its five-year high.
The S&P 500 slipped one point to 1,517 shortly after noon. Eight of the 10 industry groups within the S&P 500 dropped. Financial and technology stocks, the exceptions, were barely higher.
The broad stock index ended last week at its highest level since November 2007, and has climbed higher for six weeks in a row.
Now, with major market indexes nearing record highs, many say the stock market is ready for a pause.
“The consensus seems to be that we're due for a correction,” said Brian Gendreau, market strategist at Cetera Financial Group. “If you compound the increase we've had so far, this year would be the best year ever for stocks. And nobody thinks that that's going to happen.”
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 27 points to 13,965. Home Depot led the Dow lower, dropping 73 cents to $66.28. The Nasdaq composite fell five points to 3,188.
No economic reports are scheduled to be released today. And few big companies are scheduled to report earnings.
Loews Corp. said early today that it lost $32 million in its fourth quarter, hurt by insurance losses from Superstorm Sandy and sliding prices for natural gas. The holding company, which has dealings in insurance, oil and gas and hotels, is largely controlled by the Tisch family of New York. Its stock sank 34 cents to $43.51.
The stock market raced to a stunning start in January. A last-minute deal in Washington to avoid tax hikes and spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff” eased fears that the budget cuts could lead the U.S. into a recession. Markets soared in relief.
The Dow and the S&P 500 are up more than 6 percent for the year. The Nasdaq is up more than 5 percent.
In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury traded at 1.95 percent today, unchanged from late Friday. The yield began the year trading at 1.70 and has climbed steadily higher as worries about a recession have dissipated.
Among other companies in the news today:
— Apple's stock gained following reports over the weekend that the tech giant is developing a wristwatch-like gadget, a smart watch. The device would reportedly run the same operating system used for iPhones and iPads. Apple rose $8.55 to $483.63.
— Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk dropped 14 percent. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration refused to approve the company's proposed diabetes treatments until it received more data, which the drug maker said it couldn't supply this year. Novo Nordisk's depositary receipts lost $27.57 to $164.72.