NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In a now all-too familiar pattern, stocks lost momentum and reversed at the end of Wednesday's session, finishing in negative territory on a dwindling euro and a beat-up energy sector.
The move lower came even after Federal Reserve comments highlighting modest economic improvements and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's reassurance to Capitol Hill lawmakers that the U.S. recovery was still on track, each of which helped prop up earlier gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average had gone above 10,000 earlier in the session, but finished 41 points lower, or 0.4%, at 9,899. The S&P 500 gave up 6 points, or 0.6%, at 1056, while the Nasdaq slipped 12 points, or 0.5%, at 2159.
When stocks neared their session highs earlier in the session, Mike Shea, managing partner at Direct Access Partners, counted on further volatility to come. "We'll continue to see volatility until we have a stable currency situation with the euro and until we see the Libor come back down a little bit -- then you'll see the market stop playing defense. Right now the market is still in defense mode. I think there's a lot of trading going on, but I'm not sure that there's a lot of investing," Shea said. Overseas on Wednesday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.7%, and Japan's Nikkei fell 1%. The FTSE in London gained 1.2% and the DAX in Frankfurt soared 2% higher.