Stocks were trading mixed on Wednesday as investors became more tentative after several days of gains and waited to see if the confrontation with Syria can be resolved peacefully.
The market is on its longest winning streak since July.
In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 88 points, or 0.6 percent, at 15,279.
But a big decline in Apple prevented similar gains for the Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq. The S&P 500 was nearly unchanged, with a gain of less than two points, or 0.1 percent, at 1,686, and the Nasdaq was down by eight points, or 0.2 percent, at 3,721.
The flattish trading followed two days of strong and widespread gains. After a tough August, stocks have risen in recent days, including six days in a row of gains for the S&P 500.
Now, though, "There are people that are cautiously waiting to see if any kind of geopolitical scenario develops, negative or positive," said Stephen Carl, head of equity trading at The Williams Capital Group.
Apple fell $28.85, almost 6 percent, to $465.70 a day after the company announced two new iPhones. Apple stock fell on Tuesday, too, after rising 11 percent in the month leading up to the announcement. Some analysts felt that Apple's lowest-priced iPhone — $549 without a two-year cell phone contract — isn't cheap enough to win many buyers in emerging markets.
Seven of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 rose, led by health care and consumer goods. Tech stocks had the biggest declines.
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange observed a moment of silence shortly before trading began on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Companies making big moves included:
— Restoration Hardware, down $6.24, or 8.2 percent, to $69.82 after reporting second-quarter sales that were not as strong as the first quarter.
— Disney rose $1.04, or 1.7 percent, to $63.88 after the company said it would delay its fifth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie from a planned 2015 opening. Studios struggled with big-budget flops this summer, including Disney's "The Lone Ranger," and investors may be glad that it will take its time with the "Pirates" sequel.
— IBM rose $3.54, or almost 2 percent, to $190.10 after it said it would sell a customer care outsourcing business to Synnex for $505 million in cash and stock. Synnex rose $10.57, or 22 percent, to $58.54.
Oil prices rose 40 cents to $107.79 after two days of declines. Gold fell $1.70 to $1,362.30.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.96 percent from 2.97 percent a day earlier.
The dollar weakened slightly to 1.33 euro and 100.08 Japanese yen.