NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks retreated on Wednesday (Aug 23) after President Donald Trump suggested he could shut down the US government if Congress did not fund a border wall with Mexico.
Analysts also cited profit-taking as a driver after US stocks rallied strongly on Tuesday.
But sentiment was less upbeat again on Wednesday following Trump's free-wheeling speech in Arizona on Tuesday night, in which he lambasted the media and vowed to build the wall "if we have to close down our government."
"The fear of new dysfunction might be having some bearing on what the market is doing today," said Bill Lynch, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates.
Analysts are also looking ahead to Friday's summit of central bankers, which comes amid unease over a shift from the easy-money policies of recent years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 87.80 points (0.40 per cent) to 21,812.09.
The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 8.47 points (0.35 per cent) to 2,444.04, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 19.07 points (0.30 per cent) at 6,278.41.
Wal-Mart Stores shed 0.1 per cent and Google parent Alphabet rose 0.3 per cent after the two companies announced they were teaming up in an attempt to challenge Amazon's growing dominance in online shopping through voice-activated ordering of goods on Google Express.
Home-improvement retailer Lowe's fell 3.7 per cent after reporting that second-quarter net income was US$1.57 per share, four cents below analyst expectations. Rival Home Depot, a Dow member, lost 0.5 per cent.
Salesforce rose 0.1 per cent as it projected that full-year sales would grow more than 20 per cent from last year to about US$10.4 billion. Second-quarter revenue jumped 25 per cent to US$2.6 billion.