Stocks stall after two-day rally; S&P seen at ‘inflection point’

Home Depot falls after results, weighing on Dow

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

By Sara Sjolin and Ryan Vlastelica

U.S. stocks were flat on Tuesday as investors found few reasons to keep pushing shares higher for a third straight session, even as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea appeared to recede after Kim Jong Un pulled back on his threat to attack Guam.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.03% dipped 3 points to 21,989, while the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.02%  was off 1.5 point at 2,464 and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.08% was off 6 points, or 0.1%, at 6,334.

All three indexes had traded higher earlier in the session, and at its peak of the day, the S&P moved within 1 percentage point of record levels.

The move higher comes after an upbeat close on Monday, when the S&P gained 1% for the first time in three months as the verbal standoff between the U.S. and North Korea cooled. The Nasdaq rallied 1.3% while the Dow ended 0.6% higher. The blue-chip average has now gone 61 sessions without a 1% move in either direction, according to data from WSJ Market Data Group, its longest streak in about 22 years.

“We’re at an inflection point, and right now the market is trying to figure out whether this is still a valid, healthy trend higher, or the start of a deeper pullback of some kind,” said John Kosar, chief market strategist at Asbury Research. “I can’t tell you what North Korea will do, or what Trump might tweet, but I can tell you that the next geopolitical event is likely to be the fuse that either resumes the S&P’s uptrend or pulls us into a correction.”

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