Technology stocks turned lower after Oracle said sales were in decline. Markets are also under pressure due to uncertainty over an international bailout for Cypriot banks.
The European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission -- the so-called troika -- have given Cyprus until Monday to come up with a viable deal to secure a $13 billion loan. The Cypriot parliament rejected the first proposal, which included a tax on bank deposits in Cyprus.
The government in Cyprus is working out plans to nationalize the pension funds of state-run companies and holding an emergency bond auction, The New York Times reported.
By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 90.24 points, or 0.62 percent, to 14,421.49.
The Nasdaq shed 31.59 points, or 0.97 percent, to 3,222.60. The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped 12.91 points, or 0.83 percent, to 1,545.80.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,054 stocks advanced and 1,988 declined on a volume of 3.2 billion shares traded.
Ten-year U.S. treasury bonds rose 13/32 to yield 1.917 percent.
Against the dollar, the euro was at $1.2895 from Wednesday's $1.2936. Against the yen, the dollar was lower at 94.92 yen from 96.01 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gained 1.34 percent, 167.46 points, to 12,635.69.
In London, the FTSE 100 index lost 0.69 percent, 44.15 points, to 6,388.55.