Stocks kicked off September with a weak start, finishing near session lows in volatile trading, following a handful of mixed economic news and as investors waited for the government's monthly jobs report on Friday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 119.96 points, or 1.03 percent, to finish at 11,493.57, led by BofA and JPMorgan .
Cisco was the only gainer on the blue-chip index.
The S&P 500 fell 14.47 points, or 1.19 percent, to close at 1,204.42.
The Nasdaq declined 33.42 points, or 1.30 percent, to end at 2,546.04. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, was near 32.
All 10 S&P sectors traded lower, led by financials and industrials.
Stocks posted a four-day rally in the previous session, but despite the gains, all three major indexes still logged their worst month since last May. The major averages also logged their worst August in 10 years.
September is historically the worst month for the markets and one of the two months of the year where the Dow has averaged a decline (the other being May).
“There’s no real bullish conviction in this market and a lot of it has to do with tomorrow’s jobs numbers,” Peter Costa, president of Empire Execution told CNBC. “I’m on the light side tomorrow—the jobs report is not going to come in that good and we’ll see a substantial selloff.”
Investors are focusing on Friday's non-farm payrolls figure. Economists expect the number to have risen 75,000 in August, according to a Reuters poll, after gaining 117,000 in the previous month. The unemployment rate is seen steady at 9.1 percent.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs slashed their forecast to 25,000 from 50,000, citing weakness in online job postings in recent months.