New York Worried that Wall Street might have gotten ahead of itself, investors adopted a cautious strategy Thursday, cashing in more profits from the market's recent rallies and giving the market's major indexes their biggest losses in a month.
The Dow Jones industrials shed more than 100 points, falling for two straight days for the first time in a month. The heavy losses came despite two encouraging reports, one showing a drop in jobless claims and the other forecasting stronger-than-expected prospects for the economy.
Wall Street expected to see more profit-taking, which took most stocks lower in Wednesday's trading, as investors seek to preserve profits following more than three months of rallies.
"The market has had a nice run-up and certainly we are at levels here that you could say is priced to perfection," said Peter Cardillo, president and chief strategist of Global Partner Securities Inc.
The Dow closed down 114.27, or 1.2 percent, at 9,179.53, having forfeited 29.22 on Wednesday.
It was the Dow's biggest one-day loss since May 19, when it slid 185.58. Thursday also represented the Dow's first multiple-day sell-off since a three-day decline that ended May 20.
The broader market also retreated. The Nasdaq composite index fell 28.50, or 1.7 percent, to 1,648.64, which also was its biggest one-day slide since May 19, when it lost 45.76 points.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 15.39, or 1.5 percent, to 994.70. The last time the S&P; had a larger drop was May 19 when it gave back 23.53 points.