In meeting minutes released Wednesday, the Fed revealed divisions among members of the Open Market Committee about how to support the economic recovery.
Optimism was also tempered Thursday by a climb in first-time claims for unemployment benefits. The U.S. Labor Department said claims rose by 20,000 in the week to 362,000.
By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 46.92 points or 0.34 percent to 13,880.62.
The Standard and Poor's 500 lost 9.53 points, or 0.63 percent, to 1,502.42 points.
The Nasdaq composite shed 32.92 points, or 1.04 percent, to 3,131.49 points.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 941 stocks advanced and 2,118 declined on a volume of 4.2 billion shares traded.
The 10-year U.S. treasury rose 9/32 to yield 1.981 percent.
Against the dollar the euro fell to $1.3194 from Wednesday's $1.3283. Against the yen, the dollar was lower at 93.06 yen from 93.56 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed at 11,309.13 points, dropping 159.15 points or 1.39 percent.
In London, the FTSE 100 index dropped 1.62 percent, 103.83 points, to 6,291.54.