The S&P 500 index has risen more than 8 percent this year and its rally has been built on a succession of modest gains, with only a handful of losses, none greater than a 0.7 percent drop.
However, many analysts still believe a more significant pullback but concerns about an impending correction have been blunted by a string of upbeat economic reports. The positive data of February 24 included a better-than-expected report on consumer confidence in February and new-home sales last month that exceeded economists' forecasts.
"We're grinding higher, but it doesn't seem like there's a whole lot of conviction on either side," said Brian Lazorishak, portfolio manager at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI dipped 1.74 points to close flat at 12,982.95. The S&P 500 Index .INX gained 2.28 points, or 0.17 percent, to 1,365.74. The Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC rose 6.77 points, or 0.23 percent, to 2,963.75.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,621 to 1,361 and decliners beat advancers 1,396 to 1,129 on the Nasdaq.