The Standard & Poor's 500 index is closing lower after hitting a four-year high.

The S&P 500 lost five points to close at 1,413. The index had climbed to 1,426 in morning trading, its highest since May 19, 2008.

In other trading, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 68 points to 13,204. The Nasdaq composite index dropped nine points to 3,067.

Investors say talk that the European Central Bank may launch a bond-buying effort to support the region's troubled countries helped support the morning rally. The euro surged 1 percent, and banks with ties to Europe fared better than other stocks.

Falling stocks outpaced rising ones by a small margin on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was below the recent average at 3.2 billion shares.

 

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