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Stocks fall; Dow pulls back from a record

Traders on the floor of the New York

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. (May 28, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

The stock market closed lower Wednesday, led by the same industry groups that had the biggest gains early in the year: rich dividend payers like power utilities and makers of consumer staples.

Rising bond yields have been an important factor behind that shift.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note is near the highest it's been in 13 months following a sharp increase on Tuesday. That higher yield is giving investors who want steady income an alternative to dividend-rich stocks like power utilities, consumer staples makers and phone companies. Investors piled into those stocks at the beginning of the year, when bond yields were close to historic lows.

More broadly, after this year's powerful bull run -- the Dow Jones industrial average is up 16.8 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 index 15.6 percent -- investors may be running out of reasons to keep plowing money into the stock market.

"There's a vacuum of catalysts to continue to push [stocks] higher," said Sam Stovall, chief U.S. equity strategist for S&P Capital IQ.

The Dow closed down 106.59 points at 15,302.80. The S&P 500 index was down 0.70 percent to 1,648.36. The Nasdaq composite closed at 3,467.52, down 0.61 percent.

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