Billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett said early Thursday that weak demand is hurting his retail, jewelry, carpet and other businesses. His outlook is dimmer than earlier this year, when Buffett said all but a handful of his companies were improving.
Europe's debt crisis continued to rage. Spain's borrowing costs rose. Traders also fretted about slower growth in China.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 31 points at 12,573. The S&P 500 lost seven to 1,334. The Nasdaq fell 22 to 2,866.
Three stocks fell for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was light at 3.6 billion shares.