NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What goes up must come down ... if only slightly.
After an 8% run-up since mid-October, the S&P 500 was giving up some of those gains early Wednesday. It has been a quiet week with Veterans Day on Tuesday and the wind-down of earnings season. Investors have moved cautiously even as benchmark indices continued to break records.
The S&P 500 was down 0.36%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.38%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.26%. If the downward trend extends through to the market close, it will cut short the Dow and S&P's five-day streak of record closing highs.
Watch the video below for a closer look at how U.S. markets started the trading day Wednesday:Must Read: Warren Buffett's Top 10 Dividend Stocks
"The market is in pause mode as it digests recent gains and awaits some greater clarity on likely consumer spending as we ramp up to the holiday season," said Terry Sandven, senior equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, in a phone call. "Toward year end, we continue to believe that this is a 'buy the dips, grind higher' market."
It's a rough session overseas with European markets tumbling after the Bank of England cut growth forecasts for the next two years and warned of deflationary risks. The eurozone has been under the microscope for slowdown risk as investors comb through a series of worse-than-expected data from the region over the last few weeks. Germany's DAX dropped 1.5% and France's CAC 40 gave up 1.4%.
Global regulators have levied fines against five international banks for attempting to fix foreign exchange markets. Citibank (C) , JPMorgan Chase (JPM) , Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) , HSBC (HSBC) and UBS (UBS) agreed to a $3.4 billion settlement. Barclays (BCS) shares were down 2.4% after delaying its settlement with regulators.
Walmart (WMT) shares were little changed after the leak of an internal memo which pressed its store managers to improve its grocery performance. Separately, the company announced that it had extended Black Friday promotions for a week through to early December.
Dow Chemical (DOW) climbed 1.3%. The company declared a 14% increase in its quarterly dividend to 42 cents a share. It also added $5 billion to its buyback program.
Macy's (M) was rising 3.3% after third-quarter earnings beat forecasts but the retailer trimmed its fiscal 2014 outlook.
Plug Power (PLUG) tanked 16.1% after posting a wider-than-expected loss. Investors overlooked a revenue increase of nearly 330% year over year to $19.9 million as the company shipped five times the number of alternative fuel cells.
Fossil Group (FOSL) popped 8.6% after the watchmaker posted a double-digit jump in sales and earnings beat by 14 cents a share.
SeaWorld (SEAS) shares dropped 10.3% after the company missed third-quarter earnings estimates and reported revenue down 8% year over year. The theme park operator has seen flagging attendance over the last few quarters as its animal treatment practices came under scrutiny.
Must Read: 10 Best Apple Products Ever
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.