NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks on Wednesday retreated for the third straight session on another quiet news day that left investors searching for direction.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 48.07 (0.31 per cent) to 15,470.67.
The broad-based S&P 500 gave up 6.46 (0.38 per cent) at 1,690.91, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index fell 11.76 (0.32 per cent) to 3,654.01.
Analysts said markets are still steadying themselves after the barrage of corporate earnings and economic data releases in recent weeks.
"The market is taking a breather as it awaits info that could provide the next catalyst," said David Levy, portfolio manager at Kenjol Capital Management.
"We are taking some time to digest the recent gains," said Art Hogan, head of product strategy at Lazard Capital Markets.
Dow component Walt Disney Company fell 1.7 per cent after signalling that it would incur a US$160 million to US$190 million (S$202 million to S$240.7 million) charge in the next quarter due to the flop of its expensive Lone Ranger film.
21st Century Fox, reporting for the first time since being hived off from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp publishing assets, gained 1.7 per cent after reporting a 2013 profit of US$7.1 billion, up from US$1.2 billion in 2012, on strength in its cable television offerings.
Oil and gas company EOG Resources, a leading player in the Bakken oil and gas fields in North Dakota, advanced 2.0 per cent after reporting US$2.10 per share in earnings, well above the US$1.73 forecast by analysts. EOG also announced it was raising its targets for 2013 petroleum production.
Solar company First Solar sank 13.4 per cent after earnings came in at 39 cents a share, 17 cents below expectations.
Biotechnology firm Amgen jumped 6.8 per cent following reports that it is close to acquiring Onyx Pharmaceuticals. Onyx fell 2.9 per cent.
AOL tacked on 1.4 per cent after announcing a US$405 million acquisition of video advertising firm Adap.tv.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.60 per cent from 2.64 per cent on Tuesday, while the 30-year dropped to 3.69 per cent from 3.73 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.