Revelers at the Nasdaq Stock Market's two-month technology bash paused on the last full trading day of 1999, waving off the bottomless punch bowl to pocket profits and deny the Nasdaq composite index another new high one day after it closed above 4000 for the first time.
The composite stumbled into negative ground in the final minutes of trade to close down 4.56 points, or 0.11 percent, at 4036.87. A new all-time intraday peak of 4090.61 was reached in the first half-hour of the trading session. For the year, the Nasdaq is up 84.1 percent.
U.S. equity markets will close Friday at 1 p.m. in observance of New Year's Eve.
"We have just been through a very powerful year-end rally, and as we wind out the year it is reasonable for the rally to quiet down, and today was a quiet day," said Allen Sinai, chief global economist at Primark Decision Economics.
"The powerful rallies, and particularly the strength in the Nasdaq, is a sign of the global economy picking up and continued prosperity in the United States, and there is no end in sight to that. But realistically, the Nasdaq and broader market will at some point go through a consolidation or a correction," he added.
Overall today, U.S. equities were mixed to lower, with the Dow Jones industrial average slipping. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index barely finished in positive ground, but its 1.01-point gain was enough to set a new closing record of 1464.47.
Nasdaq breadth was negative, with losers ahead of gainers by 2,198 to 2,030. Trade was very active, with 1.1 billion shares changing hands, while the session brought 228 new highs, including giants Microsoft and Oracle, and 106 new lows.
Qualcomm, which Wednesday soared 153, or 30 percent, to 656, after PaineWebber set a 12-month price target of $1,000 per share of the wireless-communications technology company, slipped after a session of wild gyrations.
Qualcommm ended down 12 at 647 but traded as high as 740 1/8, a new-all time peak. It was Nasdaq's most active issue, with 16.1 million shares traded. Qualcomm will begin trading at a lower price in tomorrow's shortened trading day to reflect a previously announced four-for-one stock split.
Among individual names, Microsoft finished 5/16 lower at 117 5/8, but earlier in the day it reached an intraday all-time peak of 199-15/16.
The world's largest software company announced it exercised warrants to affect a $20 million investment in CommTouch Software. CommTouch shares leapt after the news to a high of 59 1/2, then eased to close at 49 1/8, up 11 5/8, a 31 percent appreciation.