Wall Street takes a breath after Powell rally

STORY: Wall Street ended mixed on Thursday as a selloff in Salesforce weighed on the Dow, hitting investors with a reality check after Wednesday's rally and ahead of Friday's jobs report.

The Dow ended about half a percent lower. The S&P 500 finished only slightly lower and the Nasdaq saw a fractional gain.

The mood on Thursday was a stark contrast from the day before, when Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled it was time to slow the pace of interest rate hikes, sparking a surge in stocks.

James Demmert, founder and chief investment officer of Main Street Research, says Wall Street might have gotten ahead of itself.

"I think today investors are recognizing that, hey, is this just another bear market trap? And so you sort of see some selling, some buying as people are performance chasing, but lots of selling, meaning that the Dow down a lot more than the other indexes because Salesforce down 10% was a big part of that index. So I think today, after you get a lot going on and but certainly a big rally yesterday."

Salesforce recovered some losses but still ended down more than 8% after the software maker said Bret Taylor would step down as co-chief executive officer in January, raising questions in investors' minds about why he was leaving the company.

Dollar General slipped 7.5% after the discount retailer cut its annual profit forecast, while Costco shed 6.5% after the membership-only retail chain reported slower sales growth in November.

But shares of some megacap growth stocks rose, including Apple, Facebook-owner Meta Platforms and Netflix, helping the Nasdaq finish in the green.