The S&P appeared set to notch another record high on Wednesday but slipped in the final minutes of trade to close lower. The Nasdaq and Dow also recorded losses. Investors showed a preference for defensive plays in utility and telco stocks, while small caps and financial stocks - a bellwether for risk - underperformed the broad market. Traders note an increasing lack of breadth in new records while volumes are light. Several retailers such as Lowe's and Dollar General were lower while some new media tech stocks were rebounding, with Twitter gaining after being upgraded from neutral to buy from Nomura. Traders expected stronger direction later this week from GDP, jobless claims and personal income data. Jane Searle reports from the NYSE.

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