On March 28, stocks declined as investors were provided with a reason to sell commodity-related shares because of sliding oil and metal prices.
Prompted by talk of a release of some U.S. and European strategic oil reserves, energy stocks were hit by a sharp fall in US crude oil futures; material shares dropped as well. Industrial shares softened after some of the recent investor optimism over the economy was deflated by a weaker-than-expected report on U.S. durable goods orders.
Caterpillar Inc, down 3.5 percent at $104.26, was the biggest drag on the Dow Jones and big oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp was down 0.9 percent at $85.86, and Chevron Corp was down 1.1 percent at $105.89.
Window dressing at the "end of quarter has probably driven up stock prices over the last couple of days," said Robbert Van Batenburg, head of equity research at Louis Capital in New York.
"That upward pressure is fading away," he added. "If you buy a stock now, it's going to settle on Monday, and it won't show up in the first-quarter results."
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 71.52 points, or 0.54 percent, to 13,126.21 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 6.98 points, or 0.49 percent, to 1,405.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 15.39 points, or 0.49 percent, to 3,104.96.