The S&P 500 ended down on Tuesday ahead of a speech by US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that could provide hints about magnitude of future interest rate hikes, while several Chinese stocks posted big gains.
Powell is due to speak at a Brookings Institution event on Wednesday about the outlook for the US economy and the labour market. Investors will be looking for clues about when the Fed will slow the pace of its aggressive interest rate hikes.
"No one is willing to buy ahead of tomorrow with Powell speaking. Everyone is nervous about what he is going to say," said Ron Saba, senior portfolio manager at Horizon Investments in Charlotte.
US-listed shares of Chinese companies Alibaba Group, Pinduoduo and JD.com jumped more than 5 percent after Beijing broadened equity financing channels for property developers.
Shares of Chinese internet firm Bilibili soared 22 percent after posting upbeat quarterly results.
Apple's stock dropped 2.1 percent, down for a fourth straight session. Shares of Amazon, Nvidia and Tesla each lost more than 1 percent.
The benchmark S&P 500 index is headed for its second straight month of gains in November amid bets that recent inflation readings showing a slight cooling in prices will lead the Fed to scale back the scale of its interest rate hikes.
The Fed has delivered four straight 75 basis point rate hikes, and it is expected to shift down the pace to a 50-bps move in December.
A survey on Tuesday showed US consumer confidence eased further in November amid persistent worries about the rising cost of living.
The S&P 500 declined 0.16 percent to end the session at 3,958 points.
The Nasdaq declined 0.59 percent to 10,984 points, while Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.01 percent to 33,852 points. (Reuters)