U.S. stocks pulled back from recent highs to close lower in light volume trade on Tuesday, as investors weighed soft auto sales and looked ahead to domestic data.
"There's no economic reports other than auto and truck sales so I don't think there's anything going on except that the market is rolling over," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth. "I don't think today's market (was) the start of any sort of consolidation."
Wednesday brings a relatively heavy day of economic reports, with weekly mortgage applications at 7:00 a.m., the private sector payrolls report at 8:15 a.m., service sector reports later in the morning and the Fed's Beige Book at 2:00 p.m.
"We're also positioning ourselves... in case the Beige Book may not be market friendly," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. He expects a moderate report.
Stocks failed to hold Monday's record closes, which had the Nasdaq above 5,000 for the first time since March 2000 and the S&P 500 and Dow at new highs.
The Nasdaq closed down 28.2 points, or 0.56 percent, at 4,979.90.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly fell more than 150 points in early afternoon trade on Tuesday before recovering to close down 85.2 points, or 0.47 percent, at 18,203.37, with Cisco the greatest decliner and Boeing the greatest of six blue chip advancers.
Kim Forrest, senior equity analyst at Fort Pitt Capital, said the market had initially overreacted to soft auto sales and that stocks recovered from intraday lows because of "more buyers coming into the market."
The S&P 500 closed down 9.61 points, or 0.45 percent, at 2,107.78, with health care the greatest laggard and utilities and energy the only sectors advancing.
Earlier, the index dipped below 2,100, below Monday's intraday low of 2,104, "which is not a good sign," said Art Cashin, director of floor operations for UBS. "A bad sign (but hopefully not likely today) would be a break below 2,090."