A rally in US stocks petered out on Thursday, with markets ending mixed as analysts weighed encouraging inflation news against expectations that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates.
Americans received a much-welcomed sign that some inflation relief is in store early in the day when a Labour Department report showed that wholesale prices cooled sharply in July.
The producer price index (PPI) fell 0.5 percent compared to June, on a nine percent drop in energy prices.
The news came just a day after data showed consumer price inflation also slowed last month, pulling back from a 40-year high that has left many families struggling to make ends meet.
The widely anticipated CPI report prompted a Wall Street rally that carried over into Thursday. But the upward momentum had mostly ebbed by the session's close.
"The market is sending a signal that the Fed is going to continue to raise rates, but the question mark is will they be aggressive, overly aggressive or will they continue on the path of the unknown?" said Peter Cardillo of Spartan Capital.
The broad-based S&P 500 closed down 0.1 percent at 4,207.
But the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1 percent to 33,336, while the Nasdaq dropped 0.6 percent to end at 12,779.
While "the market has been on a tear," eventually the "reality does settle in" that the Fed will continue to lift interest rates based on persistently high inflation, said Patrick O'Hare of Briefing.com
As for individual stocks, news that activist investor ValueAct Capital Partners has taken a 6.7 percent stake in The New York Times lifted shares of the newspaper company by 10.6 percent.
Disney, meanwhile, was up 4.7 percent after reporting better-than-expected quarterly earnings, as well as a leap in paying subscribers for its streaming service. (AFP)