The S&P 500 declined 0.06 % to 1,940.82 in midday trading Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.21% to 16,773.13, while the Nasdaq was down 0.14% to 4,331.00.
The yield on a 10-year Treasury bond dropped 0.68% to 2.64%.
The price of gold was up 0.01% to $1,272.
Builders were down on sector weakness.
Irvine-based Standard Pacific Corp. was down 1.21% to $8.16 and a market cap of $2.3 billion. Newport Beach-based William Lyon Homes Inc. was down 1.15% to $25.81 and a market cap of $805.8 million. Irvine-based TRI Pointe Homes Inc. was down 1.26% to $16.48 and a market cap of $521.3 million.
The Commerce Dept. reported building permits dropped 6.4% in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 991,000. Housing starts were down 6.5% in May as well, to 1,001,000. Permits and starts were expected to be 1,043,000 and 1,033,000, respectively.
Irvine-based Allergan Inc. was up 1.1% to $162.26 and a market cap of $48.3 billion. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. formally launched its $53 billion tender offer directly to Allergan shareholders.