U.S. stocks slipped on Wednesday as a rise in benchmark Treasury bond yields rekindled concern that higher interest rates would cut into corporate profits.
Worries about higher interest rates overshadowed news of Home Depot Inc.'s plan for a $22.5 billion share buyback and a report of a stronger-than-expected profit at Morgan Stanley.
A pullback in crude oil prices also weighed on the market as investors sold off shares of energy companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp., which shed 0.5 percent.
Shares of heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. led declines on the Dow, with a 0.7 percent drop.
The fear is that yields are going to continue to go higher and put a damper on the economy, said Angel Mata, managing director of listed equity trading at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore.
The economy has been fine and looking like picking up steam. So this move in yields looks like it's going to derail the economic improvement we've been seeing.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 3.74 points, or 0.03 percent, at 13,631.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 1.63 points, or 0.11 percent, at 1,532.07. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 2.01 points, or 0.08 percent, at 2,624.75.
U.S. government debt prices extended losses on Wednesday, in line with a sell-off of euro zone government bonds, traders said.
The benchmark 10-year note's price slipped 8/32 for a yield of 5.12 percent, compared with 5.09 percent late on Tuesday. Bond yields and prices move inversely.