The S&P 500 and the Dow closed with slight losses on Monday after briefly touching intraday records, but strength in semiconductors boosted the Nasdaq.
Monday's subdued trading followed the Dow's biggest weekly gain since January 2013 and the S&P's biggest two-week jump since December 2011. Gains in recent weeks have largely come on the back of strong quarterly results, which have eased concerns over how corporations are faring in an uncertain global economy.
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"We got back to the highs in the S&P 500 and Dow rather quickly, so I think you're running into some resistance and profit-taking," said Stephen Carl, principal and head of U.S. Equity Trading at The Williams Capital Group.
While the market's momentum is to the upside, near-term trading may be quieter as earnings season draws to a close. With results in from 73 percent of companies, three-quarters have beat analysts' expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the long-term average of 63 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 24.28 points, or 0.14 percent, to 17,366.24, the S&P 500 <.SPX> lost 0.24 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,017.81 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 8.17 points, or 0.18 percent, to 4,638.91.
Shares of AIG <AIG.N> rose 1.4 percent in after-hours trading. The company reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings.
Sprint <S.N> shares fell 5.25 percent after hours. Its third-quarter revenue rose slightly less than expected.
Among the day's biggest movers, Sapient Corp <SAPE.O> rose 42 percent to $24.60 on heavy volume after Publicis <PUBP.PA> agreed to buy the digital ad company for $3.7 billion in cash.
Covance Inc <CVD.N> jumped 25.9 percent to $100.57 after Laboratory Corp of America Holdings <LH.N> agreed to buy the company for $6.1 billion. Laboratory Corp fell 7.4 percent to $101.23 as the S&P's biggest decliner.
In the latest economic data, U.S. construction spending fell 0.4 percent in September, well below expectations. However, manufacturing activity unexpectedly accelerated in October and automobile sales were strong, easing concerns of a significant moderation in economic growth.
NYSE declining issues outnumbered advancers 1,565 to 1,511, for a 1.04-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,487 issues fell and 1,199 advanced for a 1.24-to-1 ratio.
The S&P 500 posted 73 new 52-week highs and 1new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 131 new highs and 44 new lows.
About 7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 7.8 October average, according to data from BATS Global Markets.
(By Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Meredith Mazzilli)