The stock market ended lower on Wednesday as traders looked ahead to a critical Federal Reserve meeting next week.
Without any major economic news, traders grappled with the question hanging over financial markets: When will the Fed and other central banks pull back their economic stimulus programs?
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 126.79 points to 14,995.23. The Dow had its first three-day loss of the year and its second close below 15,000 in the past month.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.84 percent to 1,612.52. All 10 industry groups in the index dropped, led by consumer-discretionary and utility companies.
The Nasdaq composite sank 1.06 percent to 3,400.43.
“There’s nothing concrete out there to turn us around today,” said Russell Croft, co-portfolio manager at the Croft Value Fund in Baltimore. “So naturally enough, people are back to thinking about the Fed.”
Markets have turned turbulent in recent weeks as traders start preparing for a time when central banks around the world aren’t pumping as much money into their financial system.
Many on Wall Street think the Fed could signal that it’s ready to start cutting back on its $85 billion in bond purchases at the end of its two-day meeting next Wednesday.