Meanwhile, traders seemed to shrug off the Fed’s Beige Book report that said the economy grew at a “modest to moderate” pace in January and February.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average struggled to move back into positive territory, after finishing above the psychologically-important 13,000 level in the previous session for the first time since May 2008.
“We’re seeing a more optimistic mood about the economy but there are still potential potholes,” said John Prestbo, editor and executive director of the Dow Jones Indexes. “The market takes two steps forward, one step back, so people will soon start to notice the progress and will be back in the frame of mind that things are getting better, which will translate into optimism.”
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also struggled for direction. The Nasdaq earlier crossed the 3,000 milestone for the first time since December 2000. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded below 18.
CONTINUED at CNBC.