The bulls' attempt to extend yesterday's rally that was sparked by the Fed's decision to speed up the tapering of its asset purchases fell short, as U.S. equities did an about-face to finish lower amid continued worries over the omicron variant.
The markets also digested monetary policy decisions out of Europe, with the European Central Bank temporarily increasing its asset purchases and the Bank of England unexpectedly raising its benchmark interest rate.
Investors also sifted through a host of economic data that showed jobless claims modestly bounced off multi-decade lows, housing construction activity came in stronger than expected, manufacturing and services sector growth decelerated, and industrial production rose at a slightly smaller pace than anticipated.
In equity news, Lennar Corporation and Adobe traded lower following their earnings reports, while Accenture rallied in the wake of its earnings results and guidance.
Treasuries were mixed and the U.S. dollar fell, while gold jumped, and crude oil prices also gained ground. Europe finished with widespread gains, and markets in Asia were mostly higher.