The energy sector slumped 1.2% as oil prices fell more than 4% after U.S. data showed a counter-seasonal build in gasoline inventories and a smaller-than-expected decline in overall crude stocks.

OIL: U.S. crude oil futures added 10 cents to $52.51 per barrel in NY.

The S&P 500 posted 20 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 78 new highs and 29 new lows.

Offsetting the group's losses, Parkland Fuel Co jumped six per cent to $30.48 following news that would buy Chevron Corp's Canadian gasoline stations and British Columbia refinery for $1.46 billion.

The Nasdaq decreased 13 points to finish trading at 5,863. The stock rose $51.65, or 6.8 percent, to $810.99 and it helped health care companies climb higher.

Small said the news supported the notion that BlackBerry's turnaround plan was working. The stock was the biggest drag on the Dow and the S&P. Shanghai-listed Shandong Tyan Home said on Wednesday its negotiations with Barrick to buy a 50-per-cent stake of the Canadian operator's Kalgoorlie mine have ended without a deal.

The Canadian dollar slipped 0.55 cents at 74.17 cents U.S. Elsewhere, Charles Schwab rose 71 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $38.62 and Prudential climbed $1.42, or 1.4 percent, to $104.99.

Intuitive Surgical up 7.1% at US$813.51 after the company reported higher-than-expected first-quarter revenue and profit.

Crude oil prices plummeted to their lowest point in the last two-and-a-half months after USA gasoline inventories rose 1.5 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration announced earlier Wednesday.

The stock sagged 5.6% after the company reported a bigger-than-expected decline in revenue of 2.6% in the quarter to March. (IBM) is weighing on the Dow, with the tech giant tumbling by 5% to its lowest intraday level in over four months.

Energy companies skidded. Marathon Oil sank 54 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $15.20 and Occidental Petroleum gave up 70 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $62.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley jumped 3.3 percent in the first few minutes of trading Wednesday after reporting higher earnings than analysts were expecting, thanks partly to strong trading results.

Morgan Stanley (MS) rose 2.2% on the back of better-than-expected earnings (, which helped offset the weak read out of Goldman Sachs (MS) on Tuesday. Of the 45 S&P 500 companies that have released results, almost 76 per cent have topped earnings estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Overall profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 10.8% in the quarter - the best since 2011. The Dow lost 118.79 points, or 0.6 percent, to 20,404.49. Coupled with an underwhelming Beige Book that highlighted the persistent lack of inflationary pressures, and technical resistance in the S&P 500 at 2,355, the averages continued to lose ground throughout the afternoon, leaving the blue-chip index and S&P in the red for a second day.

This marked the twentieth consecutive quarter of year-over-year revenue declines for IBM.

Biotechnology, internet, and computer hardware stocks are also seeing some strength in mid-day trading, while gold stocks have moved sharply lower on the day.