"The U.S. election temporarily flipped worries over Europe, but Europe still has an important role in global markets," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. "They've obviously been a chronic condition, but it's flare ups like today that grab attention."
Among earnings, Macy's reported a higher profit, thanks to sales gains, and the department-store chain also boosted its full-year earnings guidance.
Kraft Foods ended slightly lower even after the newly independent food manufacturer reported a higher profit and affirmed its 2013 outlook.
Bucking the trend, Time Warner rallied after the media company posted better-than-expected earnings.
Qualcomm, CBS and Activision Blizzard are among companies slated to post earnings after the closing bell.
Treasury prices slipped from session highs after the government auctioned $24 billion in 10-year notes at a high yield of 1.675 percent. Bid-to-cover was 2.59.
On the economic front, weekly mortgage applications declined last week as Hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast and disrupted normal business activity, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
And consumer borrowing expanded by $11.36 billion in September, according to a Federal Reserve report. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected a gain of $10.1 billion.
—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC)
Coming Up This Week:
THURSDAY: International trade, jobless claims, 30-yr bond auction, Kellogg analyst day, 3M investor mtg, OPEC press conference; Earnings from Dean Foods, Wendy's, Disney, Groupon, Nordstrom, Nvidia, Kayak, Zipcar
FRIDAY: Import/export prices, consumer sentiment, wholesale trade; Earnings from JCPenney
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