Retail sales receipts in the month came in 0.2 percent lower than n April, with a total of $404.6 billion.
In Europe, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, each addressed parliament members with similar messages, saying there was more work to do to solve the continent's financial troubles.
By close of trading Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average was off 77.42 points or 0.62 percent to 12,496.38.
The Nasdaq composite index dropped 24.46 points or 0.86 percent to 2,818.61.
The Standard and Poor's 500 lost 9.30 points or 0.7 percent to 1,314.88.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 991 stocks advanced and 2,072 declined on a volume of 3.2 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note rose 20/32 to yield 1.595 percent.
The euro rose to $1.2574 from Tuesday's $1.2504. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 79.43 yen from Tuesday's 79.51 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gained 0.6 percent, 51.12 points, to 8,587.84.
In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.18 percent, 10.07 points, to 5,483.81.
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