The broader S&P 500 index fell 11.27, or 1 percent, to 1,087.24, after two days of gains. The Nasdaq fell 17.88, or 0.8 percent, to 2,149.02.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 12.39, or 2.1 percent, to 580.32.
Four stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 4.2 billion shares compared with 4.3 billion Wednesday.
Tom Nyheim, portfolio manager at Christiana Bank & Trust Co. in Greenville, Del., said the drop in oil wasn't likely to continue because demand would outstrip supply as economies in Asia and elsewhere recover ahead of the U.S.Nyheim said the market's drop indicated a healthy caution among traders after an eight-month advance that has pushed the S&P 500 index up 60.7 percent. Nyheim predicts that investors satisfied with their gains for the year might avoid placing big bets in November and December to safeguard their returns. "I think we're going to consolidate, maybe flat-line toward the end of the year," he said. Treasurys rose, pushing yields lower. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.45 percent from 3.48 percent late Tuesday. Bond markets were closed Wednesday for Veterans Day.