Banks, lenders and other financial companies declined amid signs that a stock-market selloff was brewing.
Market veterans have become mystified of late by the prolonged periods of calm in markets, bringing measures of volatility to historic lows.
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One analyst said a sharp selloff might be needed to awake the bulls on the stock market.
"Without any pullbacks of at least a couple percent, and certainly more like the normal 3% to 5% variety, the grind higher [is slower]," said independent technical analyst Mark Arbeter, in a note to clients. "Pull up any chart, and the most viscous upside moves occur after decent downside action. Without the downside action, the upside has become slow motion."
Analysts at brokerage Nomura Securities noted that the Federal Reserve's assessment of the weakness in inflation "sharpened" in Wednesday's policy statement. The "statement said that overall and core inflation measures 'have declined and are running below 2 percent,'" said the Nomura analysts in a note to clients. "In contrast, the previous statement said that inflation was running 'somewhat' below 2 percent."
Rob Curran, firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 27, 2017 18:20 ET (22:20 GMT)