US stocks trade little changed as European and Asian equities fall – CNBC

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U.S. equities traded little change on Wednesday as their global counterparts also pulled back.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose just 11 points lower. The S&P 500 traded just below breakeven, with energy leading decliners and utilities outperforming. The Nasdaq composite, meanwhile, fell 0.1 percent.

Asian stocks fell broadly, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index both pulling 2 percent. The Shanghai composite also fell 0.3 percent.

In Europe, equities also declined. The German Dax dropped 0.9 percent while the French CAC 40 index fell 0.5 percent.

“We’re seeing some end-of-year jitters and we’re now taking some profits,” said Adam Sarhan, CEO of 50 Park Investments.

Investors also kept an eye on Washington as they awaited new details on Congress negotiations to overhaul the U.S. tax code. The GOP-led Congress passed a bill on Saturday that increased the chances of the overhaul —which would significantly lower corporate taxed — taking place this year.

But the Senate’s bill is different than another one passed by the House. Now both chambers have to work on and pass a new bill before sending it to the White House.

“We’re still in the rumor stage since nothing is final yet,” said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout. He noted, however, that lower corporate taxes are “somewhat priced into the earnings estimates for next year.”

Expectations of tax reform have been a boon for U.S. stocks all year, helping then surge to record highs. But the rip-roaring rally has slowed down recently. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq completed a first three-day losing streak on Tuesday, their first since August.

“You definitely have a market that’s taking a pause,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR. “I think it’s really about how quickly we’ve rotated into the pro-tax reform sectors.”

Financials, one of the sectors that would theoretically benefit greatly from lower corporate taxes, have been on a tear recently. The sector is up nearly 2 percent over the past week. Tech, meanwhile, is down more than 1 percent in the same time period.

Komal Sri-Kumar, president of Sri-Kumar Global Strategies, said the market is taking a pause as it’s “not clear that the tax changes that the Senate approved during the early hours of Saturday are going to be as stimulative as the markets first thought.”