Bank fines help end US stocks' 5-day record run
Wall Street's five-day record run ended Wednesday after huge fines for rigging the foreign exchange market sent the shares of three leading US banks tumbling.
But the Nasdaq ended firmly higher on gains by Apple and Yahoo.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 2.70 points (0.02 percent) at 17,612.20.
The broad-market S&P 500 fell 1.43 (0.07 percent) to 2,038.25, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite added 14.58 (0.31 percent) at 4,675.13.
US, British and Swiss regulators levied $4.2 billion in fines on six of the world's largest banks for manipulation of the foreign exchange market.
Shares of the three US banks on the list all fell: JPMorgan Chase (-1.3 percent), Citigroup (-0.7 percent) and Bank of America (-0.2 percent).
But the banks and the markets in general shed much steeper earlier losses, demonstrating the continued strength of support after both the Dow and S&P 500 set fresh records for five straight sessions.
But small regional banks generally earned a boost from BB&T's $2.5 billion takeover of regional bank Susquehanna Bancshares. Susquehanna gained 32.5 percent, while BB&T lost 1.7 percent.
Otherwise market losses were more measured as investors caught their breath after the five-day rally by the Dow and S&P 500.
"We are nearing new highs, we need a pretty good catalyst to move higher," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.
The Nasdaq hit its best level since late March 2000, but remained well shy of the all-time high above 5,048 that March 10, when the index turned downward to what became a severe crash.
Pushing the Nasdaq higher were Apple, up 1.5 percent to its all-time high of $111.25, and Yahoo, which gained 3.2 percent on news of its purchase of video advertising service BrightRoll for $640 million.
Oil company shares lost ground as the price of crude continued its fall. ExxonMobil gave up 1.1 percent, Chevron 0.7 percent, and ConocoPhillips 0.8 percent.
Bond prices were flat after the market was closed Tuesday for a holiday. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury held at 2.36 percent, unchanged from Monday, while the 30-year slipped to 3.08 percent from 3.09 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.