“With markets so firmly supported by central bankers, I don't want to be defensive,” Leger said. “It's a gift” to investors.
Earlier Tuesday, the National Federation of Independent Business reported that business owners became increasingly pessimistic during September because of the weak hiring environment and poor sales.
Nonetheless, the number of owners who expect business conditions to improve in six months gained four percentage points. Those believing it's a good time to expand rose three percentage points.
Only energy stocks kept the market from closing even lower. The price of crude oil jumped more than $3 per barrel to $92.39 because of supply concerns in the Middle East and the North Sea.
Energy stocks were the only major group in the S&P 500 to finish higher, and just barely. So-called consumer discretionary stocks, including companies like hotels and luxury stores that depend on a healthy economy, fell 1.5 percent as a group.
Among stocks making big moves, Edwards Lifesciences dropped $22.81 to $84.60 after the company reported revenue that fell well short of analyst forecasts. Sales of its Sapien heart valves were weaker than the company had expected.
Stanley Black & Decker, the tool maker, fell $1.99 to $72.24 after saying it would sell its hardware and home-improvement business to Spectrum Brands Holdings for $1.4 billion in cash.
Spectrum Brands' stock jumped $4.88, or 11.9 percent, to $46.04. The Wisconsin company owns the Rayovac, Remington and Toastmaster brands.
Eli Lilly, the drugmaker, rose $1.03, or 2 percent, to $51.81 after two studies found that its experimental Alzheimer's drug may modestly slow mental decline.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.72 percent from 1.74 percent late Friday. U.S. government bond trading was closed Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.
European markets also fell. Benchmark indexes fell 0.8 percent in Germany and 0.5 percent Britain. France's stock market index fell 0.7 percent.