Wall Street flat as investors pause after record-setting day

The New York Stock Exchange in New York.
The New York Stock Exchange in New York.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Wall Street opened little changed on Wednesday as investors paused after a day when the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs and the Dow closed 0.4 per cent shy of its all-time high.

A rally since late June has left the S&P up nearly 7 per cent in 2016, as expectations of continued low interest rates encourage investors to buy into equities.

"Everybody is at the beach and they aren't even calling in trades anymore," said Kim Forrest, a senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh. "In times of low volumes, moves up or moves down are greatly exaggerated, because there is not enough participants to absorb those extra shares."

Trading volumes have been near year-lows since Monday as the second-quarter earnings season winds down.

Oil prices reversed course to trade slightly higher in choppy trading on Wednesday.

The dollar index fell for the second straight day as weak U.S. productivity data on Tuesday somewhat dimmed the prospects of economic growth and would likely deter the Federal reserve from raising interest rates.

At 9:37 a.m. ET (9:37 p.m Singapore time), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 3.01 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 18,530.04. The S&P 500 was down 0.61 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 2,181.13. The Nasdaq Composite was down 5.98 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 5,219.50.

Six of the 10 major S&P 500 indexes were higher, led by a 0.36 percent rise in consumer staples.