Stocks nearly erased a three-day rally on Wednesday as energy and other commodity shares sank, feeding worries about the market's ability to stay on its upward path.
The second major breakdown in commodities in a week fueled selling in other risky assets, including stocks. A stronger dollar and data showing a rise in U.S. fuel supplies sent crude oil prices down more than 5 percent, and the S&P energy index (SNP:^GSPE -News) slid 3 percent.
"A lot of money is tied up into things like exchange-traded funds and mutual funds that track a broad array of stocks and not just commodities. Some of this could be a shift out of equities in general, but especially energy and commodities," said Bryant Evans, investment adviser and portfolio manager at Cozad Asset Management in Champaign, Illinois.
About five stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange, a broad exodus signaling investors saw little value in most industries.