The closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 117.16 points (0.65%) to 17 959.03, while the broad-based S&P 500 shed 10.23 (0.49%) to 2 089.27.
The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 9.55 (0.19%) to 4 992.38, lifting it closer to the psychologically important 5 000 level for only the second time in 15 years.
Greg Peterson, managing director at Ballentine Partners, said Thursday's trade was "in line with a normal volatile market" after Wednesday's surge prompted by a dovish statement from the US Federal Reserve.
"Yesterday was the news and reaction day, today is the quiet day," he said.
Oil giants ExxonMobil and Chevron were among the biggest losers in the Dow, falling 1.9% and 1.8% respectively on a down day for crude prices.
Airlines rose with the pullback in oil prices, with Delta Air Lines advancing 3.2% and United Continental picking up 2.9%.
Offshore driller Transocean dropped 7.2% after announcing it would scrap four rigs, resulting in a charge of $300-$325m. The move comes as low oil prices depress oilfield investment.
Bank of America dropped 2.3% on news that the Securities and Exchange Commission required it to hold a shareholder vote on potentially spinning off its Merrill Lynch investment bank business. Other banks also declined, including Citigroup (-2.5%) and Wells Fargo (-1.2%).
Facebook was among the big winners in the Nasdaq, advancing 2.3%. Biotech stocks were also strong, including Biogen (+1.3%) and Celgene (+2.2%).
Apple, in its first day in the blue-chip index, lost 0.8%.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 1.97% from 1.92% on Wednesday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.53% from 2.51%.