Nasdaq closes at new record high but S&P, Dow lower

The Nasdaq powered to its second straight daily record on Tuesday but elsewhere on Wall Street stocks retreated, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closing lower.

The tech-rich Nasdaq reached its latest all-time high of 9,953.75 at the closing bell, a gain of 0.3 percent, but the Dow benchmark index was down 1.1 percent at 27,272.30, while the broad-based S&P 500 retreated 0.8 percent to 3,207.18.

The mixed trading outcome came as the Federal Reserve's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) began its two-day meeting, but analysts expected few big changes as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

The FOMC has lowered its key rate to zero while the central bank has rolled out trillions of dollars in liquidity to aid businesses battered by shutdowns to stop the virus's spread -- moves that have been credited with bolstering equity markets even as the overall US economy remains dire.

"The market is not going to pay much attention to what the Fed is going to say, because they are not going to risk saying anything that could unravel their current monetary policy," Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital Securities said.

Today's losses on the Dow and S&P 500 were due to profit taking, he said, and markets were positioned to climb overall, though the progress would be fragile.

"If we got data that suggest that the economy is not pulling out of recession, that certainly would dampen it. And as we move into the earning season, that could probably could increase the resistance," Cardillo said.

Among the day's losers were United Airlines, which fell 8.3 percent after gaining in recent sessions on news that flight demand was picking up.

Carnival Cruise Line also dropped 7.5 percent, a reversal of the recovery posted in recent days.