The Commerce Department said durable goods orders were stagnant from September to October. Orders rose 1.5 percent excluding big-ticket transportation items, the category that prompted a sharp increase in orders in September.
A closely watched housing market report, the S&P Case-Shiller home price index, indicated a 3 percent rise in prices in the 20-city index, the larger of the two indexes the report covers.
In Europe, stocks were given a boost as financial leaders reached an agreement to allow international bailout funds to be released for Greece. On the negative side, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris predicted economic growth expectations among its 34 members for 2013 had slowed from an earlier prediction of 2.2 percent growth to 1.4 percent.
By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 89.24 points or 0.69 percent to 12,878.13.
The Nasdaq shed 8.99 points or 0.3 percent to 2,967.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 lost 7.35 points or 0.52 percent to 1,3908.94.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,349 stocks advanced and 1,695 declined on a volume of 3.2 billion shares traded.
The 10-year treasury note rose 8/32 to yield 1.639 percent.
The euro fell to $1.2939 from Monday's $1.2972. The dollar rose to 82.12 yen from 82.08 yen.
Japan's Nikkei rose 0.37 percent, 34.36 points, to 9,423.30.
Britain's FTSE 100 index added 0.22 percent, 12.99 points, to 5,799.71.