NEW YORK, New York - U.S. stocks crumbled on Wednesday as the extended rally on Wall Street came to an abrupt end. Only the Down Jones managed a tiny gain, and only after clawing back significant losses earlier.
Earnings reports are starting to show strains caused by higher interest rates and fears of a recession.
"If the company is bearish on its own future, why should investors be bullish," Adam Sarhan, CEO of 50 Park Investments, told CNBC Wednesday.
"That's pretty much the message we're getting from earnings season so far."
At the close of trading Wednesday, the Nasdaq Composite was down 20.91 points or 0.18 percent at 11,313.36.
The Standard and Poor's 500 inched down 0.73 of a point or 0.02 percent to 4,016.22.
The Dow Jones industrials gained 9.88 points or 0.03 percent to 33,743.84.
On foreign exchange markets, the best-performing currency of recent weeks, the Australian dollar, accelerated further. By the U.S. close Wednesday, the Aussie was trading at 0.7103, a far cry from the unit's level a few weeks ago of below 0.62 cents.
The euro shot higher to fetch 1.0911. The Japanese yen was stronger at 129.61. The British pound was steady at 1.2393.
The Canadian dollar was little changed at 1.3385. The New Zealand dollar too traded in a tight range, but robustly, around 0.6480.
Overseas, UK and European stocks softened, while Asian equities were mostly higher.
In London, the TSE 100 dropped 0.16 percent. The German Dax was down 0.08 percent. The Paris-based CAC 40 slipped 0.09 percent.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong was the best performer on Asian markets, rising 393.65 points or 1.82 percent to 22,044.65.
The Singapore Straits Times Index did nearly as well, surging 59.06 points or 1.79 percent to 3,352.77.
China's Shanghai Composite was closed for Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 rose 95.82 points or 0.35 percent to 27,395.01.
South Korea's Kospi Composite zoomed up 33.31 points or 1.39 percent to 2,428.57.
In New Zealand, where Chris Hipkins, 44, was sworn in as the country's 41st prime minister Wednesday, the S&P/NZX 50 advanced 61.59 points or 0.52 percent to 11,994.51.
The Australian All Ordinaries, going against the regional trend, dipped 22.50 points or 0.29 percent to 7,688.00.
Indonesia's Jakarta Composite was also out of favor Wednesday, falling 30.92 points or 0.45 percent to 6,829.93.