Total sales dropped 0.3 percent, with automobile sales off 0.5 percent September to October, the government said. The producer price index for the month fell 0.2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
Although low inflation has some benefits, a drop in prices is a sign the recovery is not supporting prices producers need to expand.
The European Union's statistical office Eurostat said Wednesday industrial production fell 2.5 percent in the eurozone August to September.
By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 185.23 points, or 1.45 percent, to 12,570.95.
The Nasdaq was off 37.08 points, or 1.29 percent, to 2,846.81.
The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped 19.04 points, or 1.39 percent, to 1,355.49.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 314 stocks advanced and 2,778 declined on a volume of 4 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury was up 1/32, yielding 1.595 percent.
The euro rose to $1.2734 from Tuesday's $1.2704. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 80.18 from 79.39 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was flat, climbing 0.04 percent, 3.68 points, to 8,664.73.
In London, the FTSE 100 index shed 1.11 percent, 64.24, to 5,722.01.
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