Only bank and energy stocks finished in the green ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy statement Wednesday.
Geopolitical tensions in Europe dampened investor sentiment, as did concerns about an increasingly hawkish Federal Reserve, said Systematic Ventures CEO Max Wolff.
"I think the Fed is kind of painted into a corner here. I think they're gonna have to indicate a more aggressive stance on normalization. I think they're gonna say things that the market is going to interpret as aggressive."
The Dow fought back from a nearly 800-point deficit to close just two-tenth percent lower. The S&P 500 fell more than 1% and the Nasdaq was down over 2%.
Shares of General Electric tumbled 6%. Global supply chain disruptions hurt the industrial conglomerate, pulling down its quarterly revenue.
Shares of Pfizer gained almost 2%. It and its German partner, BioNTech, launched a clinical trial of a new version of their vaccine that specifically targets the Omicron variant.
After the bell, Microsoft shares dropped even though its quarterly profit and revenue rose and beat estimates. Strong demand for the company's cloud-based services helped grow the top line.