U.S. stocks pared losses to settle slightly lower on Thursday, as investors took a breather following a week of record-setting gains.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined for the first time in eight sessions, falling 0.1% to 2,347.22. The winning streak included five straight record highs through Wednesday’s close.
Wall Street opened lower, as futures markets navigated uncharted territory. Futures on the S&P 500 were down 0.1% by the end of New York trading.
Energy stocks were the biggest drag on growth, falling 1.4% as a sector. Losses were spread out among oil and gas companies and energy equipment services providers.
After a blistering five-day rally, financials closed down 0.1%. This category has far outpaced the broader S&P 500 since the November 8 election.
Consumer discretionary stocks declined 0.4%, while healthcare finished 0.1% lower.
Four of 11 sectors contributed positively on Thursday. Utilities rose 1%, snapping two days of declines. Information technology, real estate and telecommunications services also finished higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average pared losses to finish at record highs on Thursday. The index reversed intraday losses to close at 20,619.77.
Meanwhile, the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index ended a streak of eight consecutive advances by falling 0.1% to 5,814.90.
The pullback on Thursday likely represents a broad consolidation, as investors digest recent gains inspired by President Trump’s promise of deep tax cuts. The President commented on the equities rally in a Twitter post on Thursday: “Stock market hits new high with longest winning streak in decades. Great level of optimism – even before tax plan rollout!”
Implied volatility remains very low by historical standards, but has shown signs of upward momentum in recent days. The CBOE VIX Volatility Index, Wall Street’s preferred measure of investor anxiety, edged down nearly 2% after briefly trading at one-month highs. Short-term momentum indicators suggest volatility is slowly creeping back into the picture, a sign the equities rally may be running low on fuel.
S&P 500 Index