Stocks skidded on Wednesday, with the Nasdaq off 1 percent as more weak economic data cemented fears of a slowdown and prompted big Wall Street players to slash their forecasts ahead of the closely watched payrolls report on Friday.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 174.00 points, or 1.38 percent, to 12,395.79. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 17.71 points, or 1.32 percent, to 1,327.49. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> took off 32.67 points, or 1.15 percent, to 2,802.63.