S&P, Nasdaq pare gains after hitting record highs

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This was highlighted by Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, better known as the Vix or Fear Index, falling to its lowest level since 1993 on Monday. Today's downward swing in the fear gauge is likely tied to the result of the French election and the general sideways action in global markets.

While the low volatility that has marked the prior two weeks is certainly anomalous, it is part and parcel of the more general trend of declining market moves. 18, while the Nasdaq index rose 26.10 points or 0.43% to 6,128.98.

Oil prices fell, surrendering earlier gains, rattled by concern over slowing demand and rising US crude output that has shaken investors' faith in the ability of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to rebalance the market.

Copper bounced from the four-month low touched on Monday after data showed a sharp drop on imports into China, the world's biggest consumer.

"We remain largely constructive of the equity market and view that the path of least resistance is higher", said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at Private Client Group of U.S. Bank.The Dow Jones Industrial Average.DJI edged up 0.03 percent to end at 21,012.28 points and the S&P 500.SPX gained 0.08 points, less than a hundredth of a percent, to end at 2,399.37.

Brent crude futures were last down 1.1 percent at $48.80 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate was off 1 percent at $45.96.

It is worth noting that the low level of actual volatility explains the low readings seen for the CBOE volatility index (STOXX:.VIX), or the VIX.

With March-quarter reporting season almost complete, S&P 500 earnings on average have grown 14.4 per cent, and earnings for the June quarter are expected on average to increase 8.6 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

S&P 500 earnings on average have grown 14.4 percent, up from 10.1 percent estimated at the start of the earnings season, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of Kate Spade jumped 8.31 per cent after bigger rival Coach Inc said it would buy the handbag maker for $2.4-billion to increase its exposure to millennial shoppers. Coach's shares rose 7.2 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,352 to 1,183.