Wall Street stocks retreated on Wednesday as markets awaited a key congressional vote to lift the US debt limit, while data pointed to weakening Chinese manufacturing activity.
Investors are hopeful that the United States can avert a debt default following the passage of a compromise package late on Tuesday in a key House committee, a development expected to foreshadow full House approval on Wednesday evening.
"Optimism about the US avoiding a catastrophic default on debt is growing following the House Rules Committee approving a bill based on a debt-ceiling compromise spearheaded by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy," said Jose Torres, senior economist at Interactive Brokers.
The Dow Jones finished down 0.4 percent at 34,908.
The S&P 500 shed 0.6 percent to 4,179, while the Nasdaq also dropped 0.6 percent to 12,935.
Fresh US data on the lofty amount of job openings has added to concerns the Federal Reserve will continue to lift interest rates in June.
Those worries were countered by comments from two senior Fed officials to skip an increase at the next meeting.
"I am in the camp increasingly coming into this meeting thinking that we really should skip not pause – I don't like the word 'pause' – but skip an increase," said Philadelphia Fed president Patrick Harker.
Among individual companies, Intel shot up 4.8 percent after the company's chief financial officer said revenues were on track to reach the higher end of the company's previously discussed range.
American Airlines rose 1.1 percent after it lifted key financial targets pointing to "continued strength in the demand environment."
But Advance Auto Parts sank 35 percent following disappointing quarterly profits as it reduced its shareholder dividend. (AFP)