Stocks failed to end higher in volatile trading Thursday, snapping a four-day win streak, ahead of the widely-watched government jobs report. The Dow and S&P 500 hit record intraday highs earlier in the session.
The Nasdaq was the biggest loser of the three major averages, pressured by declines in momentum and biotech stocks.
Traders were pointing to buy orders on the close when the market pared their losses late in the session. "There were about have a billion (dollars) to buy market on close," said Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS.
The Global X Social Media ETF, which includes Facebook, LinkedIn and Groupon, dropped more than 3 percent. The Nasdaq biotechnology index also slid 3 percent. Momentum stocks including Tesla, Netflix and Priceline were also in the red as investors took profits from recent gains.
"We've seen this kind of divergence off and on in the last two weeks and it's a good story," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. "The S&P is hitting new highs, but within the index, you have 10 different industry groups that are trading at different year-to-date increases – that correlation of breakdown is very healthy."