In Washington, the U.S. Commerce Department said sales of new single-family houses dropped 0.3 percent from July to August.
By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 44.04 points, or 0.33 percent, to 13,413.51. The tech-dominated Nasdaq Composite index dropped 24.02 points, or 0.77 percent, to 3,093.70. The S&P 500 lost 8.27 points, 0.57 percent, to 1,433.32.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,233 stocks advanced and 1,809 declined on a volume of 3.6 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury rose 18/32 to yield 1.612 percent.
The euro fell to $1.287 from Tuesday's $1.29. The U.S. dollar fell to 77.72 yen from Tuesday's 78.80 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gave up 184.84 points, 2.03 percent, to 8,906.70.
In London, the FTSE 100 index shed 1.56 percent, 91.62 points, to 5,768.09.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]
Larry Ellison to step down as CEO of Oracle