S&P retreats from record close

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New York - US stocks were modestly lower on Tuesday on profit-taking after the S&P 500 index climbed to a record in the prior session and on caution the Federal Reserve may end its stimulus sooner than expected.

General Motors was in the spotlight after the automaker said Chief Executive Dan Akerson will step down next month and be replaced by Mary Barra, the company's global product development chief. The stock was flat at $40.94.

A number of US policymakers suggested on Monday the US central bank may be closer than previously thought to trimming its $85-billion-a-month in bond purchases. But the market managed to end higher, with the S&P 500 closing at a record.

“You have to be impressed at how resilient and how the market has absorbed taper talks,” said Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Palisade Capital Management.

“I do think there has been a bit of ongoing profit taking due to the underlying distrust of this stock market rally.”

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 37.18 points or 0.23 percent, to 15,988.35, the S&P 500 lost 3.79 points or 0.21 percent, to 1,804.58 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.798 points or 0.07 percent, to 4,065.953.

A budget deal could emerge in Congress on Tuesday aimed at avoiding a US government shutdown on Jan. 15 and relieving federal agencies of some indiscriminate spending cuts, congressional aides said on Monday.

High-end yoga-wear retailer Lululemon Athletica named Laurent Potdevin as its chief executive and said founder Chip Wilson will step down as non-executive chairman. The stock fell 0.3 percent to $70.11.

Twitter shares hit an all-time high of $52.58, extending Monday's gains after a spate of product announcements that could boost its revenue prospects.

Shares of Rambus jumped 17 percent to $10.01 after settling a patent dispute with Micron Technology.

The United States will not implement the so-called Volcker rule before 2015, a widely expected move after regulators struggled for years to agree on the ban on proprietary trading, a top regulator said on Tuesday. - Reuters

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