The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped Tuesday, halting a four-day streak of record closes, as investors weighed equity valuations. The Dow Jones industrial average closed at an all-time high.
At the close on Wall Street, the S&P was down less than a point, 0.5 point at 1,950.8. The Dow added 2.8 points to 16,946, erasing earlier declines in the final hour of trading to extend a record. The Nasdaq added 1.5 points to 4,338.
About 5.2 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 17 percent below the three-month average.
The S&P 500 has advanced 7.4 percent since a low on April 11 as data showed the U.S. economy is recovering from the impact of extreme weather earlier this year. The gauge rallied last week after the European Central Bank announced a stimulus package and American jobs data topped estimates.
The equities benchmark trades at 16.5 times the projected earnings of its members, up from a multiple of 14.8 times at the beginning of February.
Profit for companies on the gauge will probably climb 7.4 percent in 2014, analysts predict. That's down from a January projection for growth of 9.7 percent. Sales probably gained 3.5 percent this year on average, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
The S&P 500 has risen for nearly 32 months without a decline of 10 percent or more, versus the average of 18 months since 1945, according to data from S&P Capital IQ strategist Sam Stovall. In 2011, the S&P 500 index dipped as much as 19 percent from late April through early October, the closest the market's come to ending the bull market that began in 2009.