Stocks closed out a big October with modest losses in quiet trading, as investors sorted out generally upbeat corporate earnings against the potential for the Fed to taper its stimulus efforts before year's end.
The market could continue to treat positive economic news as bad for stocks; today's session hit its low point when the Chicago PMI registered its largest one-month spike in more than 30 years.
Stocks also may have been weighed late by news of Israeli airstrikes on Syria.
Consumer discretionary stocks led gainers, supporting by media names after Time Warner Cable (+2.8%) beat earnings estimates, and internet retailers after Expedia's (+18%) big quarter.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.542%, while the dollar rose against major currencies; gold and crude oil futures both fell.