CONSUMER SLUMP: Consumer discretionary stocks, a broad category that includes department stores, restaurants and media companies, fell the most of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 index, 1.1 percent.
FED WATCH: With little incentive to drive stocks higher, traders positioned themselves for an eventual wind-down of the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus program. Fed policymakers meet next Tuesday and Wednesday.
DOW STATS: The Dow Jones industrial average had its first three-day loss of the year and its second close below 15,000 in the past month. The index has fallen 252 points this week. On Wednesday it lost 126 points to end at 14,995.