The Nasdaq was down 0.75% to 3,094 in midday trading Wednesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.07% to 13,448.

The S&P 500 was off 0.32% to 1,437.

The yield on a 10-year treasury bond was down 2.56% to 1.64%.

The price of gold fell 1.01% to $1,749 per ounce.

Shares of Irvine homebuilder Standard Pacific Corp. were down about 5% to $7 amid an overall decline among general contractors and builders. Standard Pacific has a market value of about $2 billion.

Anaheim-based drug maker Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. fell about 5% to $18 for a recent market value of $1 billion. That continued a recent slide that started earlier this week, when investors sent Questcor's shares down 33% after the company said in a Securities & Exchange Commission filing that it is under investigation by the U.S. government.