Wall Street stocks finished solidly lower Wednesday following mixed earnings that included strong results from General Motors and disappointing figures from Yahoo.
After a volatile session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 48.50 points (0.28 percent) to 17,168.61.
The broad-based S&P 500 fell 11.83 (0.58 percent) to 2,018.94, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 40.85 (0.84 percent) to 4,840.12.
Sam Stovall, equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, said third-quarter earnings are coming in slightly better than expected, with analysts now projecting a 4.8 percent decline in profits compared with an earlier forecast for 5.2 percent fall.
"After jumping nearly 9 percent since the August 25th closing low, the S&P 500 is taking some much-needed rest," Stovall said.
GM climbed 5.8 percent after third-quarter net income translated to $1.50 per share, much above the $1.19 forecast by analysts.
Yahoo fell 5.2 percent as the technology company reported net income at 15 cents per share, two cents below analyst expectations.
Flash memory specialist SanDisk rose 2.1 percent on news it will be acquired by Western Digital for $19 billion. Western Digital fell 4.6 percent.
Data storage company EMC fell 6.2 percent after reporting that third quarter net income fell 15.8 percent to $528 million. Privately-held Dell has announced plans to buy EMC for $67 billion.
Other companies to report earnings included Biogen (+4.0 percent), Boeing (+1.7 percent), Chipotle Mexican Grill (-5.7 percent) and Coca-Cola (-0.2 percent).
Valeant Pharmaceuticals International dived 19.2 percent after a report from Citron Research accused the company of inflating its sales figures. Valeant said the allegations of fraudulent behavior were "erroneous."
Endo International, another pharma company that, like Valeant, has grown via acquisitions, fell 13.3 percent.
Italian supercar maker Ferrari finished at $55 per share in its first trade in the New York Stock Exchange, up 5.8 percent from its initial public offering price of $52.
Petroleum producers fell as oil prices retreated. Dow member ExxonMobil lost 0.8 percent, Apache shed 1.8 percent and Devon Energy lost 3.9 percent.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.03 percent from 2.07 percent Tuesday, while the 30-year declined to 2.87 percent from 2.92 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.