Stocks fell about 1 percent on Thursday on weakness in industrial and technology shares, but Berkshire Hathaway's investment in Bank of America lifted the beaten down financial sector.
Apple Inc fell 2 percent to $368.75 a day after co-founder Steve Jobs resigned as chief executive, keeping the Nasdaq negative. Apple is also one of the biggest S&P 500 components.
Jobs, who has fought and survived a rare form of pancreatic cancer, said he could no longer perform the duties of the job.
Apple becomes a 'show me' stock now, though the decline today creates a good entry point for buying, said Rick Fier, vice president at Conifer Securities in New York, which has about $12 billion in assets under administration.
Adding to tech woes, Applied Materials Inc fell 3.6 percent to $10.94 after warning Wednesday that fourth-quarter revenue could fall as much as 30 percent on plummeting demand.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc , Warren Buffett's conglomerate, will buy a big chunk of the lender's preferred shares for $5 billion. Bank of America, a Dow component, jumped 17 percent to $8.16, but was still down for the month. The KBW banks index <.BKX> rose 2 percent.
This doesn't fix any of the problems at the company, but it starts to fight back against some of the overblown anxieties against the stock, said Marty Mosby, large-cap bank analyst at Guggenheim Partners in Memphis, Tennessee. This gives some soundness and stability to the shares.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 104.14 points, or 0.92 percent, at 11,216.57. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 10.11 points, or 0.86 percent, at 1,167.49. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 25.85 points, or 1.05 percent, at 2,441.84.
Among the industrials, 3M Co was one of the biggest decliners on the Dow, falling 2.1 percent to $78.64. Caterpillar fell 1.5 percent to $84.20.
The market barely moved after the government reported jobless claims rose in the latest week, lifted by striking Verizon Communications workers.
On Friday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at a Federal Reserve meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and many investors hope he will offer hints on new stimulus to aid the struggling economy.
Wall Street has been marked by steep volatility in recent weeks on concerns about the global economy and sovereign debt woes in Europe.
The CBOE Volatility index <.VIX> rose 5.5 percent and was up about 40 percent so far in August. The S&P has fallen about 9 percent, though it has risen for the past three sessions.
Credit Suisse Global Equity Strategist Andrew Garthwaite cut his S&P year-end target to 1,220 from 1,350.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)