U.S. stocks pared some gains in afternoon trading on Tuesday, pulling the Dow Jones Industrial Average away from the elusive 20,000 mark as losses in industrials slightly offset gains in technology and financial shares.
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The blue-chip index, which came within 20 points of hitting the milestone earlier, was trading near session lows. Apple and Cisco gave the index its biggest boost, while Boeing was the biggest drag.
Iran said on Sunday that it had negotiated to pay only about half the announced price for 80 new Boeing airliners in an order that Boeing had said was worth $16.6 billion.
Data on Tuesday showed U.S. consumer confidence shot to its highest in more than 15 years in December as Americans saw more strength ahead in business conditions, stock prices and the job market.
U.S. equities have been riding a post-election rally, feeding on optimism that President-elect Donald Trump's plans for deregulation and infrastructure spending would bolster the economy.
"The rally does have room to run and it is likely to remain a grind-higher environment, but there is a higher burden of truth regarding valuations," said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank.
"We need to get demonstrated improvement in areas like growth of earnings to get a sense of what 2017 will bring."
Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with technology and healthcare stocks giving the broader index its biggest boost.
At 12:31 a.m. ET (1731 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 20.02 points, or 0.1 percent, at 19,953.83, after rising to as much as 19,980.24.
The S&P 500 was up 5.97 points, or 0.26 percent, at 2,269.76.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 29.62 points, or 0.54 percent, at 5,492.31, easing from its record intraday high of 5,512.36.
Apple was up 0.74 percent at $117.39 and was the top stock on the S&P 500.
Amazon.com rose 1.4 percent to $770.90 after the online retailer said it shipped over one billion items to Prime members during the holiday season.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,824 to 1,054. On the Nasdaq, 1,798 issues rose and 980.
The S&P 500 index showed 21 new 52-week highs and one new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 143 new highs and 16 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)