(CNBC) — U.S. stocks closed lower in light volume trade on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 erasing gains for December and the Dow below the benchmark 18,000 level.
However, major indices posted gains of about 8 percent or more for the year.
"I don't see any real reason for the decline except last-minute selling and low volume," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. He called the extended decline a "technical weakness."
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 150 points in the minutes before the close. Cisco led blue-chip declines.
The S&P 500 erased its gains for December with utilities falling more than 1 percent to lead declines across all 10 sectors.