The stronger dollar and rising yields, along with expectations of a strong recovery, sapped demand for safe-haven bullion and pushed gold prices lower.
European shares advanced to near-record highs on hopes of a vaccine-driven recovery as investors looked past the fallout of U.S. hedge fund Archegos' default, which slammed Credit Suisse and Nomura shares hard on Monday.
The STOXX 600 index gained 0.7%, putting the pan-European index less than 1% from its pre-pandemic peak, while bank and mining stocks pushed the blue-chip FTSE 100 index in London to close 0.5% higher.
Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Facebook Inc led the S&P lower, while Tesla Inc, JPMorgan & Co., Bank of America and Wells Fargo & Co. were the top advancing stocks.
The playbook of the past month was for the most part evident in Tuesday's session, said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
"When rates are higher you tend to see financials act better and the large-cap tech stocks tend to be for sale. They have a problem making headway," James said.
"Look at Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, they're all lagging in a meaningful way today," he said.
Microsoft fell 1.44%, with Apple down 1.23%, 0.97% and 0.66%.
The Nasdaq tried to edge higher shortly before the market close as the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note shed 6 basis points from 14-month highs to end slightly lower at 1.714%.
While the major U.S. equity indexes fell, advancing shares outnumbered declining issues by more than 1.4:1, a sign of the impact big tech has on Wall Street and MSCI's benchmark for global equity markets.
The MSCI all-country world index fell 0.11% to 672.08, while its index for emerging markets stocks rose 0.71% as travel-related stocks lifted Brazil's Bovespa index.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.31%. The S&P 500 slid 0.32% and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.11%.
Bets on a speedy economic recovery driven by the vaccine rollout and unprecedented stimulus lifted the S&P 500 and the Dow to record closing highs last week.
The dollar climbed to a one-year high against the yen and rose against major currencies on the increasing distribution of U.S. vaccines and President Joe Biden's plans to spend up to $4 trillion on infrastructure.
Biden is expected to announce his plan on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, details of which spurred yields higher on concerns the spending could push up the government deficit.
The 10-year Treasury yielding 1.7% is not the harbinger of a bad economy, said Jason Pride, chief investment office for private wealth at Glenmede in Philadelphia. But there are concerns that inflation may be on the horizon, he said.
"Now we're starting to see the concerns of what comes after you have an economy recovering and you're injecting all this fiscal stimulus," he said. "Does that mean the Fed has to raise rates to slow things down? The answer to that is 'kind of.'"
The dollar index rose 0.423%, with the euro down 0.4% to $1.1715. The Japanese yen weakened 0.49% versus the greenback at 110.34 per dollar.
The rally in European shares and signs of a pick-up in inflation in big euro zone economies weighed on euro-area bonds, pushing 10-year yields up 4 to 5 basis points across the board.
U.S. gold futures settled down 1.7% at $1,686 an ounce. Spot gold fell 1.72% to $1,682.58.
Oil prices slid as the Suez Canal reopened to traffic, while focus turned to an OPEC+ meeting this week that analysts expect will approve an extension to supply curbs amid disappointing demand prospects.
Brent crude futures slid 84 cents to settle at $64.14 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures settled down $1.01 at $60.55 a barrel.
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sonya Hepinstall)
By Herbert Lash