U.S. stocks declined on Wednesday, with benchmark indexes retreating from all-time highs, after the World Bank lowered its outlook for global growth.
"The World Bank cut the global-growth rate a bit. If the market needs an excuse to move lower because it's overbought, let's pin it on that. The market was probably due for a pause anyway regardless of that revision," said Jim Russell, senior equity strategist for US Bank Wealth Management.
"Technicians would tell you we're in an overbought situation right now. It does not mean we have to decline significantly, but more cautious strategists would point out that we've gone 32 months without a decline of 10 percent or more, and the average is 18 months since World War II. We've gone a lot longer than we normally go," said Sam Stovall, managing director, U.S. equity strategy at S&P Capital IQ.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's surprising loss to a tea party activist in Tuesday night's Virginia primary also rattled investors, with some wondering if it heralded the return of gridlock on Capitol Hill.
"I hope it doesn't mean that it will be impossible from this point forward to compromise on issues like the budget, immigration policy," Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd Blankfein said in a televised interview on CNBC.
The seven-term Republican's defeat is "feeding into the idea of political uncertainty," said Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial, who also pointed to increased geopolitical tension in the Middle East as fostering unease, with insurgents taking over the Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investor uncertainty, jumped 5.6 percent.
In its report, the World Bank projected the global economy would expand 2.8 percent in 2014, down from a 3.2 percent forecast delivered in January. Its estimate for world growth in 2015 held at 3.4 percent.
"We are not totally out of the woods yet," Kaushik Basu, the bank's senior vice president and chief economist, said in a news release.