US stocks dip on concern over correction

US stocks ended slightly down yesterday, with indexes hovering near record levels as concerns about a correction cut earlier gains that had been prompted by news about a flurry of acquisitions.

The Dow and the S&P 500 briefly hit all-time intraday highs.

Early in the session, investors’ sentiment was brightened by a slew of deal news, including Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr.

Among the day’s top gainers were solar companies after shares of JA Solar Holdings soared following an unexpected revenue rise and a quarterly loss that was smaller than expected.

Energy stocks were the day’s top gainers in the S&P 500 while consumer staples were the biggest underperformers. The S&P energy sector index rose 1.3 per cent. The S&P consumer staples index fell one per cent.

Earlier, the Dow climbed to an all-time intraday high at 15,391.84, while the S&P 500 edged up to a new intraday record high at 1,672.84. Both major indexes are up about 17 per cent for the year so far.

“There are people scared by the sharpness and the length of this rally, which is totally understandable. But there are still those who are afraid to not invest and miss the rally,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in New York.

The S&P 500 is up nearly 1,000 points from its low in March 2009. And more than 38 per cent of the stocks hit a 52-week high within the S&P 500 last week – the highest percentage since at least 1990.

The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 19.12 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 15,335.28 at the close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index shed 1.18 points, or 0.07 per cent, to finish at 1,666.29. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 2.53 points, or 0.07 per cent, to end at 3,496.43.