Stocks fell sharply Wednesday after the Federal Reserve disclosed that its top officials were mostly in agreement that the central bank should end its massive bond-buying program.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 105 points. It was the index's sixth straight decline, the longest losing streak since July 2012.
In the minutes from the Fed's July policy meeting, board members said it "might soon be time" to slow the purchases. The bond-buying program has been in place in one form or another since late 2008 to keep interest rates low and encourage economic growth.
Traders have been worried about weak earnings and have been looking for clarity on how and when the Fed will wind down its bond purchases. Some investors believe the Fed's bond buying has inflated stock prices.
Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial, said the market had overreacted to the possibility the Fed would taper off its bond purchases. "The market is starting to realize that . . . the taper is going to happen and, maybe, it won't be the end of the world," he said.
The Dow fell 105.44 points to 14,897.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.58 percent to 1,642.80. The Nasdaq fell 0.38 percent to 3,599.79.-- AP