NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks took a breather Tuesday morning after U.S. markets notched another record high the day before.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 40 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,984 as of 11:35 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,804. The Nasdaq composite lost four points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,064.
The S&P 500 closed at another record high Monday, just above the new high it set on November 27. While the market continues to test new heights, few investors believe stocks will move significantly higher from these levels.
"It's quiet, and the only trading that will go on the rest of this year will be people selling for tax reasons and window dressing," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer for BMO Private Bank, which manages $66 billion of assets.
It's a common practice for portfolio managers, in the last couple weeks of the year, to wind down their positions, sell off poor-performing stocks and try to make their portfolios look as good as they possibly can when they mail their year-end statements to investors. On Wall Street, the practice is sometimes called "window dressing."
Banking stocks were mostly higher after investors got some clarity on new banking regulations.
Federal regulators voted to approve the so-called Volcker Rule, which bars banks from betting on the market with their own money. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal agencies approved the rule, which will go into effect by July 2015 for the nation's largest banks.
Goldman Sachs was up $2.48, or 1.5 percent, to $179.16 while Morgan Stanley was up 36 cents, or 1 percent, to $30.75.
The Volcker rule is part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law passed in 2010, following the aftermath of the financial crisis.
In other corporate news, Lululemon Athletica's founder said that he would relinquish the company's chairmanship after his comments about body type of potential customers raised some ire. The yoga retailer fell 5 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $70.26.
General Motors named Mary Barra as its next CEO. She will replace Dan Akerson and will be the first woman to run a major U.S. car company. GM slipped 12 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $40.78.