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U.S. Stocks Inching Lower

U.S. Stocks Inching Lower


 By Alexandra Scaggs 

U.S. stocks inched lower in morning trading, pausing after the S&P 500 index closed above 2000 for the first time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed, slipping less than 0.1% to 17103. The S&P 500 index declined one point, or 0.1%, to 1999, and the Nasdaq Composite Index shed four points, or 0.1%, to 4566.

Stocks retreated from record levels reached in Tuesday's quiet trading session, when the S&P 500 made its 30th record close for the year and the Dow hit a fresh intraday high.

There was little economic news on the calendar Wednesday, so traders instead eyed a regulatory filing from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group ahead of its initial public offering, which is expected next month. Yahoo Inc., which owns a chunk of the company, gained 0.5%.

"The Alibaba IPO is going to be enormous for Wall Street," said Michael Purves, chief global strategist for Greenwich, Conn.-based brokerage firm Weeden Co. Fund managers "may have to sell other stocks in the tech sector to make room for it."

Technology stocks lagged. Tech stocks led the S&P 500 index lower, shedding 0.3% in early trading.

The Dow has gained 3.2% and the S&P 500 is up 8.2% for the year, through Tuesday's close. The S&P 500 has recovered from a mid-July swoon, caused in part by a flare-up in concerns about Ukraine and the Middle East. The Dow isn't far behind, hovering 0.2% below its July 16 record as of Tuesday's close.

The latest advance has come amid light summer trading. That has pushed U.S. stock valuations further above long-term averages, which has left some strategists nervous that any unexpected bad news could prompt declines.

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