Investors get cautious as the year draws to a close

Todd White and Randall Jensen

U.S. stocks fell in light trading on the penultimate day of a blockbuster year for markets. Treasuries and the dollar declined.

The S&P 500 fell the most in more than three weeks amid the countdown to the New Year’s Day holiday Wednesday. Tech shares paced losses, with Facebook Inc., Inc. and Google’s parent company among the biggest decliners. The benchmark is still headed for its best year since 2013.

Ten-year Treasury yields pared earlier gains to trade around 1.88%, while the dollar fell for a third straight session as the yen and the pound strengthened.

“This whole week’s going to be slow, so I wouldn’t attribute any day’s movements or any movements this week to anything in particular,” said Jeff Mills, chief investment officer at Bryn Mawr Trust. “The market is in an interesting spot, we’ve run up quite a bit, technically the market is overbought.”

Investors are acting with caution in thin pre-holiday trading at the end of a year that’s propelled global equity benchmarks to record highs. And with the Federal Reserve apparently on hold and U.S. trade trade talks seemingly far from a new breakthrough, traders may remain reluctant to jump back into risk markets.

Elsewhere, West Texas crude turned lower following a report that Iran detained a fuel tanker.

These are some of the moves in major markets:

Stocks: The S&P 500 Index fell 0.6%, the most since Dec. 3, as of 4 p.m. New York time. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.9%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed.

Currencies: The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index dipped 0.2%.The British pound rose 0.3%.The euro climbed 0.2% to $1.1203.The Japanese yen strengthened 0.6% to 108.82 per dollar.

Bonds: The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points to 1.90%.Germany’s 10-year yield climbed seven basis points to -0.19%.Britain’s 10-year yield jumped 11 basis points to 0.867%.

Commodities: West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.3% to $61.54 a barrel. Gold climbed 0.3% to $1,515.45 an ounce.