The Commerce Department said the U.S. gross domestic product rose 2.8 percent on an annual basis in the third quarter. In Germany, the European Central Bank elected to drop the key lending rates for banks to stimulate the economy.
Good news remains bad news on Wall Street. The persistent paradox concerns the U.S. central bank's quantitative easing program, an $85 billion per month asset purchasing program that investors expect will end as the economy improves.
If an improved economy means less support from the U.S. Federal Reserve, reports that sound positive are read with a shudder on Wall Street.
While markets stumbled, Twitter did well with its initial public offering, prices closing at more than $44 per share, well above the asking price of $26 per share for its public debut.
The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.97 percent, 152.90 points, to 15,593.98. The Standard & Poor's 500 index shed 23.34 points or 1.32 percent, to 1,747.15. The tech-dominated Nasdaq shed 74.61 points, 1.9 percent, to hit 3,857.33.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 687 stocks advanced while 2,411 declined on volume of 4.1 billion shares traded.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index lost 108.87 or 0.76 percent to 14,228.44.
In London, the FTSE 100 lost 44.47 points or 0.66 percent to 6,697.22.
On currency markets, the euro traded higher at $1.3415 and the dollar dropped to 97.98 yen.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold dropped $10.50 or 0.59 percent to $1,307.30 per troy ounce. Silver dropped 11.8 cents to $21.65 per ounce.
In late trading, West Texas Intermediate crude oil dropped 58 cents to reach $94.22 per barrel.
Ten-year benchmark treasuries rose 11/32 to yield 2.605 percent.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]