New York - US stocks fell on Thursday, retreating from the record highs the S&P 500 and Dow industrials reached after the Federal Reserve said the economy was strong enough to begin paring its massive stimulus.
The Fed's decision Wednesday to trim its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion beginning in January was accompanied by a dovish indication of rock-bottom interest rates for the foreseeable future.
That combination enticed buyers and helped the S&P 500 and Dow post their largest gains in two months.
“I was surprised by the Fed's decision and delighted with the market's response,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.
“Today we have a normal pullback after the big move. Investors want to take chips off the table.”
A mixed bag of data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest in nearly nine months and home resales fell to the lowest in nearly a year, while the Philadelphia Fed's gauge of factory activity rose slightly in December.
Ablin said Thursday's data doesn't cloud his outlook and he expects the S&P to return roughly 7 percent next year.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12.72 points or 0.08 percent, to 16,155.25, the S&P 500 lost 4.32 points or 0.24 percent, to 1,806.33 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.406 points or 0.33 percent, to 4,056.659.
Facebook fell 1.8 percent to $54.56 after it announced the offering of 70 million shares, including more than 41 million shares from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg worth about $2.3 billion.
Zuckerberg's sale, partly to pay a tax bill, will reduce his voting power to 56.1 percent from 58.8 percent.
Oracle shares jumped 4.6 percent to $36.19 a day after the No. 2 software maker's better-than-expected results and quarterly revenue outlook spurred hopes it's on track to revive growth.
Dish is considering a bid for T-Mobile US next year, according to people close to the matter, in what would be the satellite TV provider's second attempt at acquiring a major wireless operator.
T-Mobile shares rose 2.8 percent to$28.02.
Darden Restaurants said it would sell or spin off its Red Lobster business, buckling under pressure from activist investor Barington Capital Group after reporting another quarter of sliding profits.
Darden shares fell 6.5 percent to $49.50. - Reuters