Investors decided now is the time to take a break from buying with the next Federal Reserve meeting less than a week away.
The benchmark S&P 500 ending 7 days of gains - the longest winning streak since early July.
Weekly jobless claims dropped to the lowest since 2006, but technical glitches may have skewed the data.
But for some, it's not enough to alter expectations that the Fed will announce plans to reduce bond purchases. Jason Brady of Thornburg Investments is just waiting for the details.
SOUNDBITE: JASON BRADY, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, THORNBURG INVESTMENTS (ENGLISH) SAYING:
"Clearly, housing is top of mind for the Fed, again with mortgage applications going down, so they are going to want to keep a lid on mortgage rates and so what they are probably going to do is buy less Treasuries and keep up the mortgage buying."
Speaking of buying, but of a different kind, Walt Disney is planning to buy back $6 billion to $8 billion in company stock in the next fiscal year, which begins in October. Shares of Disney saw a bounce after the plan was made public by its Chief Financial Officer.
Dell gets his victory, but can he win the war? Sure, with the aid of legal maneuvers, Michael Dell convinced shareholders to back his $25 billion tug-of-war to take his company private. But he now has to prove he can transform the No. 3 personal computer maker into something else. IDC is forecasting PC shipments will be overtaken by tablets by 2015.
Lululemon's embarrassing problem with see-through yoga pants is going to cost up to $45 million. Lulu is trimming full-year sales and profit forecasts despite beating second-quarter expectations. Shares of Lululemon Athletica tumbled about 6 percent.
A quick look at other movers: Men's Warehouse slumped -it too lowered guidance. Pandora was the top percentage gainer at the Big Board after naming a former Microsoft executive as its new CEO. And International Paper was cut even though it's closing down a factory.
In Europe, eyes were on Geneva, where U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov worked on a diplomatic end to the Syria debate. Investors were in wait-and-see mode and kept indexes near opening levels.