Stocks had their first back-to-back losses in two weeks after revenue forecasts from Amazon.com and Boeing proved disappointing.
The shortfalls left the market unable to capitalize on a morning rally, triggered by better-than-expected earnings from Chubb and ConocoPhillips. Even the biggest drop in oil prices in a month didn't help.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 5.16, or 0.4 percent, to 1191.38. The benchmark, which was up as much as 0.6 percent, declined for a second consecutive day for the first time since Oct. 13.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 32.89, or 0.3 percent, to 10,344.98. The Nasdaq composite index declined 9.40, or 0.4 percent, to 2100.05.
Speculation that the Federal Reserve will boost interest rates into next year also weighed on stocks and sent yields on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note to the highest since March.
Boeing, the world's biggest aircraft maker, fell $1.87, or 2.8 percent, to $65.10, for the worst performance in the Dow average. The company reduced its 2005 sales forecast to $55.5 billion to reflect the delays from a machinists strike and slower growth in its defense business.
Chubb, an insurer of commercial property and high-end homes, rallied $5.59, to $91.62. The company reported that third-quarter profit before investment gains was 89 cents a share, more than four times analyst estimates.
ConocoPhillips gained 36 cents, to $62.80. The No. 3 U.S. oil company reported third-quarter profit that exceeded Wall Street predictions.
Exelon, the largest U.S. utility owner by sales, slid $1.25, to $51.60. A gauge of utilities declined 1.3 percent, for the worst performance among 10 industry groups in the S&P 500. TXU, the biggest Texas power retailer, fell 95 cents, to $94.80.
U.S. Steel gained 86 cents, to $36.18. Producers of raw materials had the biggest group increase in the S&P 500. International Paper gained 68 cents, to $28.68.
Janus Capital Group, a fund manager of about $130 billion in assets, gained $1.61, or 10.6 percent, to $16.78, for the best performance in the S&P 500.
New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 27.07, to 7334.77.
American Stock Exchange index fell 8.24, to 1631.09.
Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 4.32, to 638.41.
NYSE: 2.48 billion shares, up from 2.32 billion on Tuesday. Decliners outnumbered advancers 2 to 1.
Nasdaq: 1.87 billion shares, up from 1.62 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers
3 to 2.
Crude oil for December delivery: $60.66, down $1.78.
Gold for current delivery: $471.20 a troy ounce, down from $472.80 on Tuesday.