U.S. stocks retreat from record highs, dollar dips

Tue Mar 3, 2015 4:26pm EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks followed other equities markets lower on Tuesday, with major indexes pulling back from record highs as soft auto sales raised doubts about the U.S. economy, while the dollar fell from an 11-year peak versus a basket of currencies.

Investors are awaiting evidence the global economy is improving before adding to equity holdings, analysts said. A stronger-than-expected 2.9 percent rise in German retail sales in January helped lift European shares near seven-year highs, though they later pulled back.

Data showed Canada's economy grew more quickly than expected in late 2014 and the Swiss economy slowed less than forecast.

The outlook on the United States turned less favorable as poor winter weather hurt vehicle sales again.

"The air gets a little thin up at new highs and you need a driver to keep it going, and one of the things we are not getting as a driver today is solid auto sales," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed down 85.26 points, or 0.47 percent, at 18,203.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 9.61 points, or 0.45 percent, at 2,107.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 28.20 points, or 0.56 percent, at 4,979.90.

On Monday, the Nasdaq broke above 5,000 mark for the first time in 15 years, while the Dow and S&P 500 set record closing highs. [.N]

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 shed 0.98 percent at 1,545.35, below Monday's seven-year high. [.EU]   Continued...

The exterior of the New York Stock Exchange is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York February 17, 2015.      REUTERS/Carlo Allegri