The S&P 500 gained two points, or 0.1% to 1914, while the Nasdaq Composite Index slipped three points or 0.1%, to 4234.
On Tuesday, the S&P 500 advanced 0.6% to reach an all-time closing high, as investor confidence was bolstered by better-than-expected reports on durable-goods orders, home prices and consumer confidence.
No major economic reports were due Wednesday, so trading was relatively light, as investors paused to evaluate the latest gains as well as their outlook for the U.S. economy. After booking gains on some of their profitable positions early in the session, investors stepped in to buy shares in afternoon trading.
Investors and strategists said they have been keeping a close eye on gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic growth, which is due out Thursday. An initial reading last month showed that GDP grew at a much slower pace than expected in the first quarter, as an unusually icy winter weighed on economic activity. Thursday’s reading is expected to show first-quarter GDP declined at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.6%.
Small-cap stocks declined, with the Russell 2000 Index down 0.3% after a sharp Tuesday gain of 1.4%. The small-stock benchmark, seen as more closely tied to U.S. growth than its larger, multinational peers, is down 2.1% this year, amid some uncertainty about economic growth.
Volatility edged higher, but remained low compared with historical averages. The stock market’s so-called fear gauge, the Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Volatility Index, edged up 1.1% to 11.64 in afternoon trading. Over the past 10 years, the reading has averaged around 20.
Asian markets rose. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average tacked on 0.2% to clinch its fifth consecutive gain, while China’s Shanghai Composite advanced 0.8%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.6%.
In corporate news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International raised its offer to buy Botox maker Allergan to an overall value of more than $49 billion. Valeant shares shed 1.9%, and Allergan shares lost 5.3%.
Toll Brothers shares advanced 2.5% after the home builder beat forecasts for its fiscal-second-quarter profit and revenue.
Michael Kors shares edged up 1.1%, after the luxury brand reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit and sales well above Wall Street’s expectations.
Shares of enterprise-software company Workday rose 2.8% after the company reported quarterly results above forecasts, and provided an outlook for revenue that came in above expectations.