Resurgent economic jitters knocked stocks off their stride Wednesday after days of gains fueled by a strong earnings season.
The Dow fell 266 points on Wednesday. The S&P 500 lost 23. The Nasdaq barely finished with a gain.
The economic worries emanated from the bond market where investors fear the Federal Reserve could move too quickly and choke off the nascent economic recovery.
With stocks near record highs, fears of a slower economy was most unwelcomed, says Rebecca Felton, senior market strategist and portfolio manager at RiverFront Investment Group
"I think that there is some worry building right in terms of slower growth and as everybody's keying in on the GDP number that I think is due out tomorrow, that to me would be one of the biggest worries that everyone has right now is the idea that we are going into a period of slower or decelerating growth."
Economic worries aside, it was a busy day for BLUE CHIP earnings...
McDonald's beat sales and profit forecasts as higher menu prices drove sales gains and offset higher labor and food costs. The stock rallied 2.6 percent.
Coca-Cola raised its full-year earnings forecast. Sales also beat estimates as demand from sporting events, restaurants and other public venues bounce back. Coke closed the day with 1.9 percent gain.
Boeing kept the earnings news flowing. The aerospace company lost money due to costs tied to its problem-plagued 787 airplane and Starliner spacecraft programs. The stock shed 1-1/2 percent.
General Motors posted a drop in sales and profits that was not as big as feared but provided a disappointing full-year profit forecast due to the global chip shortage and rising commodity prices. Shares of GM fell more than 5 percent.
But a different story out of GM rival, Ford. After the close: Ford raised its full-year outlook on strong truck sales and announced it will pay a dividend again -starting in the fourth quarter.