Investors on Wall Street have been encouraged by some better than expected retail sales figures for February, but the market's recent run of strong gains may have finally come to an end.
A Commerce Department report showed sales at US retailers rose 1.1 per cent last month.
That is the best gain in five months and more than twice the median forecast of economists.
The data has helped to reinforce the view that the US economy has some decent momentum, but it has not been enough to boost shares overnight.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose just 5 points to 14,455.
That was its ninth straight session of gains, making it the Dow's longest rally since 1996, although the last two rises have been miniscule.
The S&P 500 Index gained 2 points to 1,554, and the Nasdaq closed 3 points higher at 3,245.
In Europe markets mostly lost value, with traders cashing in recent gains while mulling over news of some mixed inflation figures throughout the eurozone.
A large number of companies traded ex-dividend in Britain and that pulled the London market lower.
The FTSE 100 closed down 29 points to 6,481.
The Australian market's set for a flat start - in futures trading, the Share Price Index 200 was down 2 points to 5,097.
The Australian dollar was slightly weaker, buying around 103 US cents just before 9:00am (AEDT).
On commodity markets, West Texas crude oil was worth $US92.45 a barrel, Tapis was quoted at $US114.87, and spot gold eased to $US1,588 an ounce.