Wall St falls as Fed talks taper

US stocks fade as Fed official warns stimulus program can't continue forever

US stocks are lower in late-session trading, after a top Federal Reserve official said its monetary stimulus program can't continue forever.

With an hour left, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 25 points, 0.16%, at 15,758.10, pulling back from Monday's record high.

The broad-based S&P 500 Index fell 3.43 points, or 0.19%, to 1,768.46, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite dropped less than one point to 3,918.95.

"There won't be any hard data for the US that is released today, yet participants have taken note of some overnight remarks from Dallas Fed President (Richard) Fisher who said QE can't go on forever," Patrick O'Hare of Briefing.com said.

"Mr. Fisher's hawkish leaning is well known, but it is beginning to resonate more since participants are cognisant that he will be a voting FOMC member in 2014."

Fisher, in an interview with CNBC, said the Fed's balance sheet has become "bloated" and warned that "at some point, we will have to taper back on the pace of purchases. But that doesn't mean we'll stop. We'll have less accommodation as opposed to the current $US85 billion ($91.05 billion) a month."

The mild stocks sell-off followed Monday's modest gains that pushed the Dow to a record close and the S&P just a whisker shy of a record amid thin trading volume due to the Veterans Day holiday.

With the Dow and the S&P highs, "we expect to see some modest price consolidation in the stock market over the next few days," said Fred Dickson of DA Davidson & Co.