U.S. stocks eased record-setting gains on Friday, with the Nasdaq Composite turning lower, as investors welcomed Alibaba's market debut and relief that Scotland voted to remain in the U.K.
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"It's a combination of Alibaba coming to market as well as the election in Scotland; there was underlying concern that that may not go well," said Paul Nolte, senior vice president, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management.
Just over 55 percent of Scottish voters supported sticking with the nation's 307-year union with the U.K. after Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to give additional policy-making powers to Scotland.
"Investors were clearing some space to buy Alibaba," said Nolte, noting selling in technology shares earlier in the week.
"Now we'll get back to what passes for normal," he added.
Alibaba (BABA) started trading at $92.70 a share on the New York Stock Exchange Friday, with the Chinese e-commerce giant's IPO the largest ever; Oracle (ORCL) shares dropped, a day after co-founder Larry Ellison stepped down as CEO; Concur Technologies (CNQR) jumped after SAP said it would buy the company for about $7.4 billion and Apple (AAPL) fell on the first day of sales of its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Scaling back from an 84-point gain that had it setting another intraday record, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow Jones Global Indexes: .DJI) was lately up 26.30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,292.29, with Chevron (CVX) pacing blue-chip gains that extended to 20 of 30 components.
Also setting an all-time high, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) reversed lower, down nearly 1 point to 2,010.65, with technology and financials falling the hardest and utilities and telecommunications leading gains among its 10 major sectors.
The CBOE Volatility Index (^VIX), a measure of investor uncertainty, rose 1.8 percent to 12.26.
After rising to its highest since March 2000, the Nasdaq (^IXIC) was recently down 17.20 points, or or 0.4 percent, at 4,576.22.
For every two shares rising, more than three declined on the NYSE, where 596 million shares traded as of 12:10 p.m. Eastern. Composite volume cleared 1.7 billion.
The dollar (Exchange:.DXY) advanced against other global currencies and yield on the 10-year Treasury note (U.S.:US10Y) fell 2 basis points to 2.599 percent.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold and crude futures declined, with the gold contract for December down $7.40, or 0.6 percent, at $1,219.50 an ounce and October crude losing 81 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $92.26 a barrel.
"Commodities have been in a terrible situation most of this year. Oil, gold, soybeans, corn, those prices have been falling and that's part of the reason why we're looking at a Fed that will continue to be disappointed with inflation," said Nolte.
The Conference Board's index of leading indicators rose 0.2 percent in August versus expectations for a 0.4 percent gain.
U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, with the S&P 500 and Dow industrials toppling records, as investors considered mixed economic reports on jobs and the housing market and continued to relish the Federal Reserve's renewed vow to keep benchmark rates low.
"We're been overvalued for a long time, on a trailing basis. We can stay overvalued for a couple of years before events conspire to change that. I don't see a recession on the horizon, so stocks can continue on their merry way higher," said Nolte.
-By CNBC's Kate Gibson
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