Stocks fell on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq dropping 1 percent, on concern that surging oil prices may hurt an economic recovery, pulling down shares of technology companies and big manufacturers.

Gains in the price of oil and other commodities helped to underpin stocks globally on hopes economic activity was picking up, but in the United States investors worried that higher prices may fuel inflation and hamper a recovery.

It would seem that the oil prices may be too much of a good thing. Oil prices have run so far, so fast, and that could eventually curtail discretionary spending, Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago.

It may pinch this recovery. Oil prices really do need to retreat somewhat to (underpin) this recovery.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 20.18 points, or 0.23 percent, to 8,742.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 3.77 points, or 0.40 percent, to 938.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> shed 17.45 points, or 0.94 percent, to 1,842.68.

U.S. front-month crude advanced 1.2 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange, lifting shares of Chevron Corp by 1.3 percent to $71.12, and Exxon Mobil Corp by 0.6 percent to $73.62.

Shares in big manufacturer Caterpillar Inc fell 1.7 percent to $37.60 and were among the top drags on the Dow.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc , the world's largest retailer, fell 1 percent to $50.12, making it the top drag on the Dow.

On Nasdaq, Apple Inc , a technology bellwether, declined 2.5 percent to $139.17. Google Inc dropped 1.5 percent to $429.

(Additional reporting by Ellis Mnyandu; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)