Cisco also was a strong performer on the bluechip index, gaining after BMO Capital Markets raised its price target for the networking company.
In addition to P&G, Caterpillar , which has helped lead the market rally, was off sharply in early trade.
Research in Motion also continued its precipitous decline, losing another 5 percent as the BlackBerry maker begins laying off employees as part of a broad restructuring to cut costs.
In other markets, commodity prices were under pressure, with gold and oil posting drops as crude hit session lows following a report showing a gain in inventories.
Government debt prices dropped, with benchmark 10-year notes yielding 1.66 percent yield, off its high of the session.
Elsewhere in corporate news, Indenix Pharmaceuticals shares surged 12 percent on positive testing news for its hepatitis C drug IDX184.
Tesla Motors jumped 5 percent on an upgrade from Goldman Sachs.
Adobe Systems fell after it cut its full-year revenue outlook, suggesting that weak demand in Europe could affect sales of recently launched versions of its popular design software.
Orisirs Therapeutics surged after its life-saving stem cell drug received a second regulatory approval.
Earnings released on Wednesday include BedBath&Beyond and Red Hat, both coming after the closing bell.
Coming Up This Week:
THURSDAY: Jobless claims, PMI manufacturing index flash, existing home sales, Philadelphia Fed survey, FHFA home price index, leading indicators, Best Buy shareholders mtg, Google shareholders mtg; Earnings from ConAgra, Rite Aid
FRIDAY: Earnings from Darden Restaurants
—By CNBC Senior Writer Jeff Cox