The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials, down 6.08 Tuesday, dropped another 11.97 points to 2,773.36.
Declining issues outnumbered advances by more than 2 to 1 in nationwide trading of New York Stock Exchange-listed stocks, with 458 up, 1,021 down and 504 unchanged.
Analysts said traders found it hard to resist the temptation to cash in their gains after the market's rise to record highs last week and Monday.
The tendency to lighten up was apparently heightened by a dimming of hopes for any moves soon by the Federal Reserve to relax its credit policy.
Interest rates, which had been dropping in recent days on hopes of some stimulus from the Fed, rose in Wednesday's credit-market activity.
Prices of long-term government bonds dropped about $5 for each $1,000 in face value, lifting their yields to the 8.05 percent-8.10 percent range.
In addition, the Bank of Japan raised its influential discount rate from 3.25 percent to 3.75 percent.
On the mergers and acquisitions front, AMR dropped 4 1/4 to 97 1/8 in active trading on word that the company was asking for legislation to help it ward off a takeover bid by investor Donald Trump.
Among other airline stocks, USAir Group lost 2 5/8 to 46 1/2 and Delta Air Lines was down 2 5/8 at 77 1/8. …