U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday after the Dow index hit another record close in the previous session, as investors shifted focus to how soon the Federal Reserve may begin reducing stimulus.
Speculation that the Fed could soon begin to scale back buying its $85 billion a month in bonds has grown since the surprisingly strong U.S. jobs data for October, which caused a spike in U.S. Treasury yields.
Investors hope to discover clues about possible early tapering by the Fed when Minneapolis Fed Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota is scheduled to speak in Minnesota at 1 p.m. (1800 GMT) and Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart is due to talk at the same time in Alabama.
Earlier, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said in an interview with CNBC cable television the Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus program cannot continue forever.
Stocks were not making much in the way of gains or losses after the market strode higher for the past five weeks.
"There are not as many stocks participating on the upside as there are for the downside," said Frank Gretz, market analyst and technician for brokerage Shields & Co in New York. "The net of this is that the market has more to go on the downside on the short-term although there isn't a big problem, a big divergence in the market," Gretz added.
China unveiled a plan to broaden economic reforms but this did little to lift global shares. China's leaders promised to let markets play a bigger role in resource allocation in a new policy blueprint announced at the end of a four-day meeting of key officials from the ruling Communist Party.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 10.98 points, or 0.07 percent, at 15,772.12. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 3.32 points, or 0.19 percent, at 1,768.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 7.98 points, or 0.20 percent, at 3,911.82.
On Monday, the Dow index posted its 35th record close of the year while the S&P 500 also came close to ending the session at a record high. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq index ended flat, while the Nasdaq 100 .NDX closed down 0.1 percent at 3,362.98.
"The 3,400 level on the Nasdaq 100 index has been a tough hurdle for the market of late," said Bryan Sapp, senior trading analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.
"Given that technology has been so strong this year, a significant break above this area could be the catalyst to drive markets higher into the end of the year."
Dish Network Corp (DISH.O) posted quarterly results that beat Wall Street estimates as it added 35,000 pay-TV subscribers, far exceeding expectations. The stock rose 2.8 percent to $48.90.
News Corp (NWSA.O) shares fell 3.5 percent to $16.18 a day after the company reported a steeper-than-expected 3 percent decline in revenue in its first quarter as a standalone company, as weakness at its Australian newspapers took a toll.