Wall Street capped a day of listless trading Tuesday with modest gains, narrowly avoiding a three-day losing streak for the S&P 500 index.
A last-minute burst of buying nudged the benchmark index into positive territory after spending most of the day flat or down.
Stocks have wavered between small gains and losses following a run of record highs last week. Investors have been mostly pausing ahead of two days of congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Traders will be listening to the exchanges that Powell has with lawmakers on Wednesday and Thursday for hints about the Fed's next move on interest rates.
The market rallied through much of June after the central bank signaled that it's prepared to cut rates to offset slowing global growth and the fallout from U.S. trade conflicts. But an unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs report Friday has dimmed investors' expectations.
Many traders still expect the Fed will cut its benchmark rate by a quarter percentage point at the end of the month, but fewer are now expecting a half-point reduction.
"Certainly the jobs report put into perspective just how much easing may be possible, given the continued strength of the economy," said Justin Kelly, chief investment officer at Winslow Capital. "So the market is likely recalibrating."
The S&P 500 rose 3.68 points, or 0.1%, to 2,979.63. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22.65 points, or 0.1%, to 26,783.49.
The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology companies, gained 43.35 points, or 0.5%, to 8,141.73. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks added 1.20 points, or 0.1%, to 1,562.59.