An early rally on the stock market was mostly gone by the closing bell, leaving indexes with a mixed finish after being up most of the day.
Materials and energy companies fell more than the rest of the market Wednesday. Murphy Oil sank 6 percent.
Several media companies slumped. Disney helped drag the Dow Jones industrial average lower after reporting that its cash-cow sports network ESPN had hit a soft patch.
Traders were encouraged to hear Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen say that the central bank will be cautious about raising interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 99 points, or 0.6 percent, to 15,914.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped a fraction of point to 1,851. The Nasdaq climbed 14 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,283.