U.S. Markets closed

U.S. stocks retreat from record highs, dollar dips

The exterior of the New York Stock Exchange is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York February 17, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks followed other equities markets lower on Tuesday, with major indexes pulling back from record highs as soft auto sales raised doubts about the U.S. economy, while the dollar fell from an 11-year peak versus a basket of currencies.

Investors are awaiting evidence the global economy is improving before adding to equity holdings, analysts said. A stronger-than-expected 2.9 percent rise in German retail sales in January helped lift European shares near seven-year highs, though they later pulled back.

Data showed Canada's economy grew more quickly than expected in late 2014 and the Swiss economy slowed less than forecast.

The outlook on the United States turned less favorable as poor winter weather hurt vehicle sales again.

"The air gets a little thin up at new highs and you need a driver to keep it going, and one of the things we are not getting as a driver today is solid auto sales," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) closed down 85.26 points, or 0.47 percent, at 18,203.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) was down 9.61 points, or 0.45 percent, at 2,107.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) was down 28.20 points, or 0.56 percent, at 4,979.90.

On Monday, the Nasdaq broke above 5,000 mark for the first time in 15 years, while the Dow and S&P 500 set record closing highs. [.N]

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3) shed 0.98 percent at 1,545.35, below Monday's seven-year high. [.EU]

Tokyo's Nikkei (.N225) dipped 0.06 percent as traders booked gains that propelled the index to 15-year highs on Monday. [.T]

The MSCI world equity index <.MIWD00000PUS>, which tracks shares in 45 nations, fell 0.5 percent, to 431.16.

The dollar retreated from an 11-year high against a group of six currencies after a top Japanese economic official said the greenback could not sustain more gains. The dollar index (.DXY) was last down 0.05 percent at 95.415, while the dollar was down 0.35 percent at 119.715 yen (JPY=EBS) [FRX/]

The euro firmed against the dollar but weakened versus the yen before details on Thursday from the European Central Bank on its 1.1 trillion euro bond-purchase program. It was down 0.1 percent at $1.11740 (EUR=EBS) and 0.42 percent lower at 133.750 yen (EURJPY=EBS).

With the impending start of the ECB's effort to jump-start the region's economy, peripheral euro zone yields hovered near record lows. U.S. Treasuries were under pressure, with benchmark yields rising to 2.122 percent due to higher-yielding corporate supply, led by a $21 billion deal from Actavis (ACT.N). [US/] [GVD/EUR] [USC/]

Oil rose in choppy trading as fighting in Libya and signs of stronger global demand outweighed persistent concerns about a supply glut. [O/R]

Brent crude (LCOc1) settled up $1.48 or 2.49 percent at $61.02 a barrel. U.S. crude (CLc1) settled up 93 cents or 1.88 percent at $50.52.

Spot gold (XAU=) fell $3.84 or 0.32 percent, to $1,202.81 an ounce, erasing early gains. [GOL/]

(Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak in New York; Marius Zaharia, Francesco Canepa and Anirban Nag in London; Editing by Catherine Evans, Dan Grebler and James Dalgleish)