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S&P and Nasdaq snap 7-day winning streak as stocks pull back from records

U.S. equities closed mostly lower Thursday, taking a breather from a record-setting run, while energy dropped 1 percent.

"It's certainly a market that has confidence. The problem with that is, when confidence gets that high, it's harder to push the market considerably higher," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 10 points, closing at a record high, with Chevron contributing the most losses and 3M the most gains.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.1 percent, with energy leading decliners.

"The SPX looks poised for several days of consolidation as it digests recent gains," said Katie Stockton, chief technical strategist at BTIG. "However, we believe the SPX can reach our Q1 target of 2400 before a significant pullback, and would keep a bullish bias."

The Nasdaq composite declined 0.1 percent. The major indexes posted fresh intraday highs earlier in the session.

"I think the market has a problem here, and that is complacency," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. "Investors are getting ahead of themselves with the prospects of Trump moving forward with tax reform."

The three major indexes, along with the small-caps Russell 2000, closed at new all-time highs again on Wednesday, as President Donald Trump continued touting his economic agenda consisting of three key themes: deregulation, corporate tax cuts and fiscal stimulus. Wednesday also marked the fifth straight day with the indexes closing at record highs.

On Thursday morning, Trump tweeted about the stock market's recent run.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Getty Images
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Economic data continued to come in strong Thursday, with weekly jobless claims holding around their lowest levels in more than 40 years, while the Philadelphia Federal Reserve manufacturing index hit its highest level since January 1984.

"The ebullience speaks for itself as manufacturers will be a main beneficiary of any corporate tax changes. This joins a slew of euphoric sentiment indicators that we've seen for months but the actual rate of economic growth right now for Q1 is still estimated to be around the same 2% we've been stuck in," said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, in a note.

Inflation data released earlier this week, along with testimony from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, lifted market expectations for a rate hike in March. According to the CME Group's FedWatch tool, expectations for a March move were at 22 percent.

In corporate news, investors parsed through quarterly results from CBS, Wendy's, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Marriott, among other firms.

U.S. Treasurys rose on Thursday, with the benchmark 10-year yield falling to 2.45 percent and the short-term two-year note yield holding around 1.21 percent.

The dollar fell 0.7 percent against a basket of currencies, with the euro near $1.066 and the yen around 113.3.

Overseas, European stocks declined, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index sliding 0.37 percent. In Asia, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.47 percent while the Shanghai composite advanced 0.52 percent.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIA
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S&P 500
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NASDAQ
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The Dow Jones industrial average rose 7.91 points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 20,619.77, with Cisco Systems leading advancers and Chevron the top decliner.

The S&P 500 slipped 2.03 points, or 0.09 percent, to end at 2,347.22, with energy leading five sectors lower and utilities the greatest advancer.

The Nasdaq composite declined 4.54 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 5,814.

About four stocks declined for every three advancers at the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 853.02 million and a composite volume of 3.653 billion at the close.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 11.7.

On tap this week:

Friday

Earnings: Fluor, Bloomin' Brands, Moody's, VF Corp, Allianz