By Riva Gold and Aaron Kuriloff
Losses in financial shares pressured the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday.
Stocks have stalled in recent weeks as many investors await policy moves before extending bets on tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks that helped send major indexes to fresh highs after the election.
Some said they have been weighing recent improvements in earnings and economic data against concerns about high stock prices and an uncertain political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Dow industrials fell 35.95 points, or 0.2%, to 20054.34 on Wednesday. The S&P 500 gained 1.59 points, or 0.1%, to 2294.67, and the Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/205547889/composite NDAQ -4.56% Composite added 8.24 points, or 0.1%, to 5682.45.
The S&P 500 hasn’t dropped more than 1% in a day since the November election, the longest stretch without a loss of that size since 2006, according to Bespoke Investment Group.
“No one knows how patient the market will be, but right now it’s showing surprising resilience,” said Tony Roth , chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust.
Only a few weeks into the new administration, “we’re just getting into the tough part of the planning,” he said.
Financial shares in the S&P 500 were among the biggest decliners on Wednesday, falling 0.8%.
J.P. Morgan Chase lost 76 cents, or 0.9%, to $85.96, Visa /zigman2/quotes/203660239/composite V +0.97% fell 69 cents, or 0.8%, to 85.09 and Goldman Sachs Group /zigman2/quotes/209237603/composite GS -1.80% lost 1.89, or 0.8%, to 237.73. The three companies combined to take roughly 23 points off the Dow industrials.
Some analysts said they suspected investors were selling financial stocks to buy other shares, after the administration’s efforts to cut regulations on financial firms last week helped extend a postelection rally that has driven the S&P 500 sector up roughly 17% since Nov. 8.
Signs of improvement in corporate earnings have helped support shares even as investors await policy actions.
Alaska Air Group /zigman2/quotes/200972303/composite ALK -4.72% climbed 3.10, or 3.3%, to 97.20—a record close based on data going back to 1984—after the air carrier said its revenue rose and raised its dividend.
Shares of Microchip Technology led gains in the S&P 500, climbing 4.18, or 6%, to 73.80 following the company’s quarterly results Tuesday.
Gilead Sciences /zigman2/quotes/210293917/composite GILD -4.54% fell 6.30, or 8.6%, to 66.83 after the 2017 forecast the biopharmaceutical company issued Tuesday disappointed analysts.
Government bonds strengthened, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note falling to 2.349%—for the lowest yield since Jan. 17—from 2.389% on Tuesday. Yields move inversely to prices.
As yields fell, investors bought real-estate and utilities shares, helping propel gains in the S&P 500. The utilities and real-estate stocks in the index rose 0.9%. Those sectors are often considered proxies for bonds because they pay relatively high dividends.
The Stoxx Europe 600 added 0.3%. Markets in Asia recovered from early losses, with Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average closing up 0.5% Wednesday as strong earnings results offset a stronger yen.