NEW YORK - Stocks slid on Wednesday as worries about the severity of the recession persisted, following government data that showed U.S. housing starts and building permits slid to record lows in January.

News of the Obama administration's plan to stem foreclosures was met with skepticism. The Dow Jones home construction index <.DJUSHB> fell nearly 6 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 61.88 points, or 0.82 percent, to 7,490.72. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> slipped 7.11 points, or 0.90 percent, to 782.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 11.83 points, or 0.80 percent, to 1,458.83.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by James Dalgleish)