U.S. stocks trimmed earlier gains and were mostly negative in late morning trading after comments from Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell that the economy could be ready for interest rate increases twice this year.
The Nasdaq Composite index touched a record high earlier in the session, while the S&P 500 was less than seven points away from its all-time high, before they turned negative.
Global markets have been trading higher with European shares climbing to a three-week high, after Athens proposed new reforms on Monday, which were cautiously welcomed by euro zone finance ministers.
Mohannad Aama, managing director at Beam Capital Management in New York, said it was normal for investors to take to the sidelines and take away some profits after a big rally.
“There is a sense that this is as good as it’s going to get this summer,” said Aama.
Powell said he thinks economic growth will accelerate in the second half of the year, the labor market will continue to improve, and price pressure in the economy will start to build.
Supporting Powell’s view, a gauge of U.S. business investment spending plans rose in May in a tentative sign of stabilization in the manufacturing sector, which has been weak since the late summer of 2014.
New U.S. single-family home sales increased in May to the highest in more than seven years, brightening the outlook for the housing market and the broader economy.
U.S. Treasuries prices fell for a second straight day, with yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rising to their highest levels in 1-1/2 weeks.
At 11:46 a.m. ET (1546 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 12.74 points, or 0.07 percent, at 18,132.52, the S&P 500 was down 0.37 points, or 0.02 percent, at 2,122.48 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 4.31 points, or 0.08 percent, at 5,149.66.
Six of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the utilities index leading the declines with a 1.25 percent drop.
Microsoft’s 1 percent fall weighed the most on the Nasdaq and the S&P, while Boeing’s 1.1 percent dip dragged the Dow.
Sonic shares fell 11.9 percent to $30.14 after its forecast fell shorts of expectations.
Green Dot jumped as much as 36.6 percent to $20.92 – its highest in about 18 months – after three brokerages raised their price targets on the stock after the company said it renewed agreement with Wal-Mart Stores as issuing bank for MoneyCard prepaid reloadable cards.
Momo was up 11.1 percent at $17.43 after the Chinese social media company received a “going private” proposal from its CEO.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,561 to 1,387. On the Nasdaq, 1,350 issues fell and 1,279 rose.
The S&P 500 index showed 42 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 143 new highs and 17 new lows.