U.S. stocks saw a late-day rebound but still closed in red territory Wednesday amid weak economic data both from home and abroad.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 173.45 points, or 1.06 percent, to 16,141.74. The S&P 500 fell 15.21 points, or 0.81 percent, to 1,862.49. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 11.85 points, or 0.28 percent, to 4,215.32.
The blue-chip Dow was down as much as 460 points before recouping most of earlier losses in the late afternoon session.
U.S. economic data came out downbeat in the morning, exacerbating investors'worries over global economic growth.
U.S. retail and food services sales for September slipped 0.3 percent, said the U.S. Commerce Department. The decline was bigger than market consensus of a 0.2-percent drop.
U.S. business inventories rose 0.2 percent for August, also lower than market expectations of a 0.4-percent increase, the department said in a separate report Wednesday.
Adding to woes in the market, the growth of manufacturing activity in the New York region slowed significantly in October, with the Empire State general business conditions index plunging to 6.2 from a five-year high of 27.5 in September, said the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Moreover, the U.S. Producer Price Index for final demand unexpectedly fell 0.1 percent in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, said the U.S. Labor Department on Wednesday. The decline of U.S. wholesale prices was the first in more than a year and missed analysts'expectations of a 0.1-percent increase, a sign that the U.S. economic growth is not as robust as expected.
Overseas data also added to negative sentiment on Wall Street. German Consumer Price Index remained unchanged in September from the prior month thanks to falling energy prices, the Federal Statistical Office of Germany said Wednesday, increasing fears over deflation in the euro area.
China's consumer inflation in September also eased to an over four-year low, China's official data showed Wednesday.
However, the so-called Beige Book released by the Federal Reserve in the afternoon comforted spooked investors a little bit by saying that the 12 Fed Districts are generally witnessing " modest to moderate economic growth" at a pace similar to that noted in the previous book.
The sharp slump in the earlier session lured some investors with appetite for risk to buy the dip in the late session, which slashed stock losses.
On the previous trading day, the S&P 500 and the tech-rich Nasdaq snapped their three-day rout with modest gains while the Dow extended its losses into a fourth session, as decent earnings from major U.S. banks eased some concerns about global growth worries.