NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks ended a quiet session with slight moves today as investors found few reasons to keep pushing shares higher following a six-week advance, though the longer-term trend was still viewed as positive.
The benchmark index is up more 6.4 percent in 2013, putting both the S&P 500 and Dow industrials near multi-year highs. The S&P is less than 4 percent from its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09, hit in October, 2007.
“This is still a market that looks terrific, but when you're up for six weeks in a row, everyone is going to want to take a pause going into the seventh week even if there is no bad news out there,” said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management in Chicago.
Volume was light, with about 4.812 billion shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq, and NYSE MKT, well below the daily average so far this year of about 6.48 billion shares.
Wall Street was modestly lower throughout the session but regained some ground in the final hour of trading as Google Inc rebounded off earlier losses. Shares of the Internet search giant dipped 0.4 percent to $782.42, recovering from earlier declines of 1 percent after the company said in a filing former chief executive Eric Schmidt is selling roughly 42 percent of his stake in the company.
Also in the tech space, Apple Inc rose up 1 percent to $479.93 after the New York Times reported the iPhone maker was experimenting with the design of a device similar to a wristwatch.
The Federal Reserve's Vice Chair Janet Yellen, seen as a potential successor to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke next year, said the Fed is still aggressively stimulating an anemic U.S. economic recovery that has failed to bring rapid progress on employment.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 21.81 points, or 0.16 percent, at 13,971.16. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 0.92 points, or 0.06 percent, at 1,517.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.87 points, or 0.06 percent, at 3,192.00.
Upbeat U.S. and Chinese data last week helped the S&P 500 extend its weekly winning streak to six. The index gained about 8 percent over that period.
Equities have been strong performers lately and many investors have used any declines in the market as opportunities to buy.