US markets are quiet after six weeks of gains

US stocks ended a quiet session with slight moves yesterday as investors found few reasons to keep pushing shares higher following a six-week advance, though the longer-term trend was still viewed as positive.

The benchmark index is up more 6.4 per cent in 2013, putting both the S&P 500 and Dow industrials near multi-year highs. The S&P is less than 4 per cent from its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09, hit in October 2007.

“This is still a market that looks terrific, but when you’re up for six weeks in a row, everyone is going to want to take a pause going into the seventh week even if there is no bad news out there,” said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management in Chicago.

Volume was light, with about 4.812bn shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE, well below the daily average so far this year of about 6.48bn shares.

Wall Street was modestly lower throughout the session but regained some ground in the final hour of trading as Google rebounded off earlier losses. Shares of the Internet search giant dipped 0.4 per cent to $782.42, recovering from earlier declines of one per cent after the company said in a filing that former chief executive Eric Schmidt is selling roughly 42 per cent of his stake.

Also in the tech space, Apple rose one per cent to $479.93 after the New York Times reported the iPhone maker was designing a device similar to a wristwatch.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 21.81 points, or 0.16 per cent, at 13,971.16. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 0.92 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 1,517.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 1.87 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 3,192.00.