Wall Street wavered, oil slipped and the dollar weakened further against the euro in thin trading yesterday as major European markets were shut for Easter.
US stocks were little changed, just below three-year highs, after strong first-quarter earnings. Seventy-five per cent of S&P 500 companies that have reported beat analysts' expectations, just above the average of the past four quarters.
Although oil prices turned lower in choppy trade, crude's recent powerful surge is offsetting positive momentum from earnings, and as the day progresses stocks could fall, said Kevin Kruszenski, head of listed trading at KeyBanc Capital Markets in Cleveland.
"I could see some profit-taking after the advance we've had," Kruszenski said. A more tempered view of economic growth was taking hold across many markets.
"There's a fundamental bias that the data is indeed slowing and higher gas prices will take their toll on the consumer," said David Ader, senior government bond strategist at CRT Capital Group in Stamford, Connecticut.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 23.61 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 12,482.38. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 1.70 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 1,335.68. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 2.04 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 2,822.20.
US government debt prices rose as traders banked on the idea that even as the Federal Reserve's second bond-buying programme nears the end, the Fed will hold on to its portfolio and its current level of monetary accommodation for some time.
With European markets closed and no major US economic reports on the calendar, the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee that ends tomorrow will be the key event traders focus on to gauge the direction of monetary policy.
The euro was up 0.14 per cent at $1.4576, but the dollar was up 0.1 per cent against a basket of major currencies at 74.070.
US light sweet crude oil fell 66 cents to $111.63 a barrel.
Spot gold prices fell $2.13 to $1,505.50 ounce.