Wall Street drops on Fed caution

US stocks fell yesterday, with the S&P 500 retreating from four-year highs after the US Federal Reserve said it was less inclined to provide more economic stimulus.

The Dow Jones industrial average declined 64.94 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 13,199.55 at the close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 5.73 points, or 0.40 per cent, to 1,413.31. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 6.13 points, or 0.20 per cent, to 3,113.57.

Supportive central bank policies have been a primary catalyst for the

Sectors tied to growth were the big losers of the day, with energy shares down one per cent, and materials off 0.9 pe rcent.

These sectors and the broader market extended losses after the release of the Fed’s minutes, though they subsequently rebounded. The day’s strongest performer, utilities, is considered a defensive play.

Despite the day’s declines, the Dow was still up eight per cent for the year while the S&P 500 remained up 12.4 per cent and the Nasdaq was up 19.5 per cent for 2012 so far.

About 62 per cent of stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange closed in negative territory while on the Nasdaq, two-thirds of shares ended lower.