Stocks turned lower at the close of trading as continuing worries about interest rates and the latest warning about corporate earnings rattled the market.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell for the sixth time in seven sessions, losing 62.05 points to close at 10,213.48.
Broader indicators also ended lower. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 13.83, to 1268.37, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 25.98, to 2730.27.
As stocks swung in a narrow range in choppy trading for much of the session, analysts said most investors appeared reluctant to buy in the sessions before the Federal Reserve's meeting on interest rates Monday.
Concerns that the Fed will raise rates for the third time this year have contributed to a steep decline in the stock market this month. The Dow is now 1,112 points, or 9.8 percent, from its record high of 11,326.04, set on Aug. 25.
Stocks were also hurt by the latest round of corporate profit warnings.
Gillette fell 3-9/16, to 33-7/16, after saying late Tuesday that third-quarter sales will be about 1 percent below last year's levels. And Avon, the direct seller of cosmetics, tumbled 9 7/8, to 25-13/16, after saying its fourth-quarter earnings and sales may miss estimates.
While most companies are expected to report strong profit growth in the third quarter, those that have warned Wall Street about their earnings outlook have been harshly punished.
The Dow's technology components performed poorly today. IBM fell 3-7/16, to 120-1/16, after Merrill Lynch removed the stock from its list of 10 top stock picks, replacing it with Mercury Interactive, a maker of automated software-testing programs. Mercury shares rose 3 3/4, to 62 1/2.
Merrill, which has had some concerns about growth of IBM's hardware revenue, continues to recommend IBM shares and maintained its estimates for third-quarter earnings.
Hewlett-Packard fell 5-15/16, to 89 1/4, weighing most heavily on the Dow. The computer maker has been one of the strongest stocks in the Dow so far this year, and analysts said investors may be trying to lock in their gains in case the broader market declines further.
Oil companies were mostly higher as the price of crude oil futures topped $25 a barrel for the first time since January 1997. Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported a decline in U.S. crude supplies, providing the latest evidence that a glut is ending.