By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica

Investors looking ahead to Fed meeting minutes

U.S. stocks mostly fell in early trade Wednesday, with traders finding few reasons to keep pushing shares higher following a string of records for major indexes and ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.5 points to 19,019, essentially unchanged on the day. The S&P 500 fell 7 points, or 0.3%, to 2,196, while the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 34 points to 5,353, a loss of 0.6%.

The Nasdaq saw outsized losses due to weakness in the biotech sector, which slumped following some negative drug trial results. Equities overallalso saw some pressure from the stronger U.S. dollar , which jumped 0.7%. A stronger dollar can erode the profits of multinational companies.

The Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq--along with the Russell 2000 --all hit records on Wednesday and closed at new highs. The was the second straight session for the four to do so, the first time that the four indexes hit simultaneous and consecutive records since March 1999. Both the Dow and the S&P closed above psychological milestones on Tuesday, with the blue-chip index ending above 19,000 and the S&P topping 2,200. However, those levels hold little fundamental or technical significance.

Opinion:Why the Dow at 19,000 is no cause for celebration (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-19000-is-no-cause-for-celebration-2016-11-22)

"There's some short-term protection measures being put into place, and a little bit of profit taking. We're going into a holiday, and traders don't want to have fixed positions going into a day off, a half-day, and a weekend," said Sean O'Hara, president of Pacer ETFs Distributors.

The stock market will be closed in the U.S. on Thursday and it will close early on Friday. Many traders and other market participants will be out for the holiday, which could mean a quieter market, although the lighter volume could also leave it susceptible to bigger swings if unexpected headlines occur.

Read:Here's when markets close on Black Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-when-markets-close-on-black-friday-2016-11-18)

In the latest economic data, durable goods surged 4.8% in October (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/durable-goods-orders-see-jet-fueled-48-gain-in-october-2016-11-23), in large part due to strong demand for commercial aircraft. Separately, the number of American applying for jobless benefits rose more than expected in the latest week (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/jobless-claims-jump-18000-to-251000-2016-11-23), although the increase comes just one week after claims dropped to a 43-year low.

Read: Tom DeMark now sees 5%-6% retreat for stock markets in wake of Trump rally (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tom-demark-now-sees-5-6-retreat-for-stock-market-in-wake-of-trump-rally-2016-11-22)

Stocks to watch:Eli Lilly(LLY) shares tumbled 13% after the company said its Alzheimer's drug failed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/eli-lilly-shares-slide-premarket-after-company-says-alzheimers-drug-trial-failed-2016-11-23). The decline was part of a broader fall in health care names. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) fell 1.8%.

Exclusive:T-Mobile's accounting slammed by investor group in letter to SEC (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/t-mobiles-accounting-slammed-by-investor-group-in-letter-to-sec-2016-11-23)

Also weighing on the biotech sector was Juno Therapeutics Inc. (JUNO) which plummeted 30% after the company said two patientsin its cancer trial had died (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/juno-therapeutics-halts-midstage-clinical-trial-after-patient-death-2016-11-23).

Deere & Co.(DE) rose 9.3% after profit and sales beat expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/deeres-stock-surges-after-profit-and-sales-beat-expectations-2016-11-23).

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.(HPE) and HP Inc.(HPQ) both reported earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hewlett-packard-revenues-shrink-just-like-the-company-2016-11-22) late Tuesday. Shares of Hewlett rose 1.2% while HP sank 4.5%.

Read:Hewlett-Packard revenues shrink, just like the company (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hewlett-packard-revenues-shrink-just-like-the-company-2016-11-22)

Urban Outfitters Inc.(URBN) shares fell 9.3% after an earnings miss (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/urban-outfitters-shares-slip-after-earnings-miss-2016-11-22).

Other markets: European stocks were largely weaker, though theFTSE-100 index (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/commodity-stocks-pull-ftse-100-higher-once-again-2016-11-23) bucked that trend with a 0.6% gain, led by basic materials companies. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is scheduled to deliver his "autumn statement" to parliament later Wednesday.

Oil prices rose moderately ahead of updated U.S. inventory data from the Energy Information Administration. Crude prices have been buffeted ahead of next week's meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Gold prices fell 1.7%, hurt by the rise in the dollar.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 23, 2016 09:57 ET (14:57 GMT)

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