Stocks closed down nearly 1 percent in a volatile session after the minutes from the last Fed policy setting meeting suggested the central bank is divided on when it may start to pull back on its monetary stimulus.
The market had moved higher earlier in the session when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reiterated that tapering bond purchases will depend on an improvement in the economic data.
The last time the Dow was up over 150 points at the session highs, but closed down for the day was March 16, 2009.
The S&P 500 lost 13.81 points, or 0.8 percent, to finish at 1655.35. The Nasdaq dropped 38.82 points, or 1.11 percent, to close at 3463.30. Both the Dow and S&P were up as much as 1 percent earlier in the session.
All 10 S&P sectors fell, with utilities and materials pacing the declines.