NEW YORK, New York - U.S. stocks waded into heavy weather on Thursday with gains withering in the final hour of trading.
Speculation about Covid-19 vaccines and a U.S. stimulus package under consideration weighed on sentiment.
The Standard and Poor's 500 hit a record high for the third day in a row, but was unable to sustain the gain.
"The market continues to keep its fingers crossed for a stimulus package, no matter what the size," CFRA Research's Chief Investment Strategist Sam Stovall told Bloomberg Thursday. "Investors just want to know if Biden can 'reach across the aisle' and sway the Republicans. That would offer optimism for additional actions from a working relationship between the parties once he is sworn in."
At the close on Thursday, the Dow Jones index was ahead 85.73 points or 0.29 percent at 29,969.52.
The Standard and Poor's 500 finished 2.29 points or 0.06 percent lower at 3,666.72.
The Nasdaq Composite advanced 27.82 points or 0.23 percent to 12,377.18.
The U.S. dollar continued to be caned Thursday. The euro shot up to 1.2141 by the New York close. The British pound zoomed up to 1.2141. The Japanese yen was sharply higher at 103.89. The Swiss franc firmed to 0.8913.
The Canadian dollar strengthened to 1.2870. The Australian dollar reached the lofty heights of 0.7438. The New Zealand dollar was only slightly higher Thursday at 0.7072.
In London, the FTSE 100 added 0.42 percent. The German Dax slid 0.45 percent, while in Paris, France, the CAC 40 was off 0.15 percent.
On Asian markets, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose just 8.39 points or 0.03 percent to 26,808.37.
The Australian All Ordinaries advanced 36.00 points or 0.53 percent to 6,847.30.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was the best performer on the day, rising 195.92 points or 0.74 percent to 26,728.50.
China's Shanghai Composite lost 7.24 points or 0.21 percent to 3,442.14.