NEW YORK, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks retreated on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 snapping a four-day streak of record highs amid mixed earnings reports from renowned companies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 54.33 points, or 0.35 percent, to 15,413.33 points. The S&P 500 dropped 8.29 points, or 0.47 percent, to 1,746.38 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 22.50 points, or 0.57 percent, to 3,907.07 points.
On the previous trading day, the S&P 500 refreshed its all-time high for a fourth straight day, boosted by speculations that the U. S. Federal Reserve might maintain its monetary stimulus following the release of the disappointing nonfarm payrolls report for September.
The Fed is more likely to push the first reduction in its asset purchases into 2014, economists at Goldman Sachs said in a note late Tuesday.
However, investors remain cautious to pour cash into stocks markets, which had witnessed an impressive gain since the U.S. lawmakers struck a last-minute deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling last week.
Two Dow components posted different pictures in earnings. Caterpillar shares dipped 6.07 percent to 83.76 U.S. dollars after the heavy equipment maker missed profit expectations and slashed its full-year forecast.
Meanwhile, Boeing shares surged 5.34 percent to 129.02 dollars after the aircraft maker beat earnings expectations and raised its full-year guidance.
On the economic front, U.S. import prices advanced 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month in September, the Labor Department said Wednesday. The price index for U.S. exports also rose 0.3 percent in September.
U.S. house price went up 0.3 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis from the previous month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported.
However, U.S. mortgage applications decreased 0.6 percent in the week ending Oct. 18 from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, increased 0.75 percent to end at 13.43.
In other markets, oil prices fell Wednesday as U.S. crude inventories rose more than expected. Light, sweet crude for December delivery lost 1.44 dollars to settle at 96.86 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for December delivery shed 2.17 dollars to close at 107.8 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures for December delivery on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange decreased 8.6 dollars to settle at 1, 334 dollars per ounce on a stronger dollar Wednesday.
The U.S. dollar bounced back slightly against major currencies Wednesday, after falling sharply in the previous session on rising expectation that the Fed may delay tapering bond-buying scale.
In late New York trading, the euro dipped to 1.3780 dollars from 1.3783 dollars of the previous session, and the British pound wend down to 1.6172 dollars from 1.6239 dollars.