Stocks pulled back from intraday record highs on the Dow and S&P 500, with the S&P finishing back below 2,000, as investors await the monthly jobs report set to be released tomorrow.
Some analysts were saying that the stock market was overextended after the big run-up during the past four weeks, so today's modest retreat was not particularly surprising.
Rockwell Capital's Peter Cardillo sees signs of fatigue setting in, adding the market is in an overbought condition and that "some sort of a pullback is looming."
The energy sector tumbled 1.3% amid a 1% decline in crude oil prices and pressure from BP, which sank 6% after a federal judge found the company grossly negligent in causing the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Participation was ahead of recent averages, with 613M shares changing hands at the NYSE.
Despite the afternoon retreat in equities, Treasurys ended the day on their lows with the 10-year yield up 5 bps at 2.45%.