U.S. stocks closed lower on Wednesday amid a series of economic data that continued to show moderate growth ahead of Friday's key jobs report.
Investors also eyed the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday that might reveal details on the timing of the bond-buying program announced earlier in the year.
Wednesday's decline "is a combination of three days in a row of data that's not terrible but it's not good, and heading into the big jobs report," said JJ Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade. "We're right off all-time highs. (The big question was) can we rally back and close above 2,100?"
The S&P 500 closed just under 2,100 as all sectors except health care declined. The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 106 points after earlier falling more than 150 points, with most blue chips lagging.
Stocks held to earlier declines despite the Fed's Beige Book showing optimism on an expanding economy in most regions, with some pressure from energy and winter weather. The report also said there are some wage hikes in separate industries.
"I think it's a friendly survey, but the market's not reacting at this time," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. "For the markets, it's probably a non-event."
Taking "the Beige Book in the context of other data, you see the consumer driving growth," said Robin Anderson, economist at Principal Global Investors.
Earlier, the ADP private payrolls report showed a gain of 212,000 in February, below expectations and the slowest pace since August 2014. The January private payrolls report was revised up to 250,000.
Bob Gavlak, wealth advisor with Strategic Wealth Partners, said that Wednesday's selloff was "overreaction to the fact that job growth seems to have slowed down."
The ADP data is considered a pre-indicator of Friday's labor market report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Bottom line, job growth slowed in February but ADP revised up its previous years data which puts it more in line with what the BLS has been saying," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said in a note.