The Nasdaq Composite on the other hand closed 0.08% or 5.28 points lower to 6,456.04, as shares of Apple came under selling pressure.
Oil prices were slightly lower but held most of their recent gains before a meeting of oil producers that could extend production limits aimed at clearing a glut that has depressed the market for more than three years.
Only two of the 11 major S&P sectors - financials and industrials - were higher, with gains of 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent.
The S&P 500 telecommunications sector climbed 1.9% on Tuesday, among the biggest gainers in the broad index, after CNBC reported that T-Mobile and Sprint were in active talks about a merger. The company said same-store sales declined 2.6% in the second quarter, versus expectations of a 0.7% drop, while sales of $2.9bn fell short of estimates of $3bn.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed for a sixth consecutive session, hitting another record high, while the S&P 500 touched the 2,500 benchmark in its own run to an all-time peak, shrugging off geopolitical uncertainties and downbeat us data on gains in telecommunications and financials.
US stock indexes were trading lower on Thursday, weighed down by Apple and rising expectations for a third interest rate hike this year.
The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity rose to 23.8 in September from 18.9 in August, with a positive reading indicating growth. A separate report on business confidence showed optimism among chief executive officers reached its highest level since early 2014.
The meeting might give for indications of an interest rate hike for the third time this year. But traders will be listening for word on whether the central bank is ready to begin shrinking its multitrillion-dollar stockpile of bonds.
Analysts said market will also be looking for clues of whether the Fed will raise rates in December.
"That's the most important aspect here", Blancato said. -North Korea tensions and high valuations, said Peter Cecchini, chief market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald in NY.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.24 percent.
Elsewhere, as the region's banks celebrated higher interest rates that should support profits. U.S. Bancorp shares rose 78 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $53.16. "I think she (Yellen) will need a little more evidence on the inflation side over the next month or two to have some conviction about moving rates in December", said Ronald Sanchez, chief investment officer at Fiduciary Trust Company International in NY.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling USD0.45 to USD50.24 a barrel after jumping USD0.93 to USD50.41 a barrel on Wednesday.