to buy time until the new Congress and Obama are sworn in, which is in January.
Other declining shares included Apple, which was down sharply for a second day. The stock fell 2.9 percent at $541.75 and has fallen more than 20 percent from its Sept. 21 all-time intraday high.
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in September as exports rose while jobless claims dropped, although last week's damaging storm along the U.S. East Coast distorted the data.
Qualcomm Inc was a bright spot, up 6 percent at $61.61 as the biggest boost to both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 after the leading supplier of chips for cell phones reported quarterly revenue Wednesday that beat expectations.
Whole Foods Market Inc reported earnings that met expectations, but said Hurricane Sandy was a drag on sales this quarter. Its shares slid 5 percent to $91.17.