«The two things that have been market drivers have been central bank policy and trade negotiations. Two of the most important guys in those areas testified today. When they said reasonable and measured things, (stocks) recovered,» said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago.
Also on Wednesday, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen called the president a «conman» but said he had no direct evidence Trump colluded with Moscow to bolster his White House campaign ahead of the 2016 election.
Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets in New York said that the market recovered when investors realize there would not be «some kind of bombshell out of Cohen’s testimony.»
He also saw India-Pakistan tensions as a support for US assets as investors sought alternatives to emerging markets.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 72.82 points, or 0.28 per cent , to 25,985.16, the S&P 500 lost 1.52 points, or 0.05 per cent , to 2,792.38 and the Nasdaq Composite added 5.21 points, or 0.07 per cent , to 7,554.51.
Optimism on trade and Fed policy had boosted equities from December lows in recent weeks, with the S&P 500 index roughly 5 per cent below its record closing high hit in late September.
«Investors are stepping back and taking a pause to see how these news events play out,» Carol Schleif, Deputy Chief Investment Officer, Abbot Downing in Minneapolis, MN.
Of the 11 major S&P sectors, seven closed lower with the healthcare index 0.5 per cent decline weighing the most. Health insurer and pharmacy benefit manager shares slipped after a Senate hearing and the introduction of a bill aimed at moving all Americans into a government health insurance program on Tuesday.
A 15 per cent drop in Mylan NV shares was another drag after the generic drugmaker missed quarterly profit estimates and forecast weak 2019 earnings.
Best Buy Co Inc jumped 14 per cent after the consumer electronics retailer beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly same-store sales, while announcing a dividend hike and a share buyback plan.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.05-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.07-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 58 new highs and 30 new lows.
Volume on US exchanges was 7.30 billion shares, compared with the 7.34 billion average for the last 20 trading days.