Stocks ended mixed in a quiet session marked by optimism about high-tech companies and lingering pessimism about the possibility of rising interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 2.44 to close at 10,595.30. The index had risen as much as 45 points earlier in the session.
Broader indicators were mostly higher. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 8.00, to 1381.46, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 41.33, to 3197.29, its ninth record in the past 10 sessions.
Trading was quiet as the bond market was closed in observance of Veterans Day. Most stock investors appeared content to wait for new economic data before taking major new positions.
"Without the bond market giving us any guidance, people are being a bit cautious," said Ned Collins, a trader at Daiwa Securities America.
The Federal Reserve will hold its next policy-setting meeting on interest rates on Tuesday, and analysts are divided over whether the central bank will raise interest rates for the third time this year. The Fed has raised rates twice to keep inflation under control, but recent economic reports have offered conflicting evidence on whether price pressures are escalating.
On Friday, the Commerce Department will report on retail sales for October and the Labor Department will release its report on productivity and costs. Most analysts believe stocks will remain in a fairly narrow range until the Fed meets.
"Any finality that is provided by the Fed next week will likely result in another strong rally in stocks into the holiday season," said Brian G. Belski, chief investment strategist at George K. Baum & Co.
Technology stocks once again led the broader market. Dell Computer, considered a bellwether stock for the industry, rose 2, to 43-7/16, in advance of the firm's earnings report.
After the 4 p.m. market close, Dell said it had operating earnings of 18 cents per share, matching analysts' forecasts. Shares rose to 44 in extended trading.
A new alliance with Microsoft boosted shares of Tandy Corp., the parent company of RadioShack. Microsoft will set up retail areas in up to 7,000 RadioShack stores and will invest $100 million in RadioShack.com.
Tandy rose 4-3/16, to 69 3/8, and Microsoft gained 2 1/2, to 89 5/8, boosting the Nasdaq and helping the Dow contain its losses.
Retailer Lands' End plunged 27-5/16, to 56, after warning that its fourth-quarter sales will slip as it cuts back on the number of catalogues it ships. The company is trying to refocus its business to concentrate more fully on electronic commerce.
New issues of stock continued to flourish. United Parcel Service, which debuted Wednesday in the largest domestic initial public offering in history, rose 6 5/8, to 74 7/8. Charter Communications, which made its IPO on Tuesday, rose 1/2, to 25 1/2, on the Nasdaq.
"The huge new issues we've seen this week have turned in a really great performance," Collins said.
Trading was halted briefly during the morning to observe a moment of silence on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in honor of war veterans.