Wall Street has finished lower after the Federal Reserve raised concerns the US economic recovery from the devastating effects of the pandemic faced a highly uncertain path.

In the minutes of the July Fed meeting, the policy committee says the swift rebound in employment seen in May and June has likely slowed and additional “substantial improvement” in the labour market hinges on a “broad and sustained” reopening of business activity.

The Fed also rules out for now more dovish monetary policy measures such as yield-curve control.

“The Fed was cautious in the minutes and has been over the last month,” said Mike O’Rourke, chief market strategist at Jones Trading. “I think the fact that the Fed was not too warm on the yield-curve control and some of the extreme measures investors may have liked to see was a concern.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday closed 85.19 points lower, or 0.31 per cent, to 27,692.88, the S&P 500 lost 14.93 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 3,374.85 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 64.38 points, or 0.57 per cent, to 11,146.46.

Earlier in the session, the S&P 500 hit an intraday record of 3,399.54 and Nasdaq of 11,257.422.

Losses on Wall Street came after Apple Inc became the first publicly listed US company to cross $US2 trillion in market capitalisation. Already the most valuable listed company in the world, the iPhone maker provided the biggest support to the three main indices.

The company’s stock was boosted by expectations of long-term success from the country’s biggest tech names in a post-coronavirus world.

Strong results from retailers Target and Lowe’s also lifted sentiment earlier in the session.

The S&P 500 closed at a record on Tuesday in what has been its fastest recovery ever from a bear market. The Nasdaq recouped its losses from the pandemic sell-off two months ago, but the Dow is still nearly five per cent below February’s record closing high.

On US exchanges 8.61 billion shares changed hands compared with the 9.72 billion average for the past 20 sessions

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.62-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.23-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 26 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 74 new highs and 25 new lows.