Stocks fell Wednesday as investors were disappointed by a weaker-than-expected reading on durable goods orders, while a plunge in oil prices dragged energy and material shares lower.
February's durable goods report showed new orders rose 2.2 percent against a consensus looking for a solid 3 percent increase and on the heels of a 3.6 percent drop in January, the Commerce Department said.
Further pressuring prices, a weekly report on crude-oil inventories showed a surprisingly large increase, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration
Metals and energy stocks were hurt the most. Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU) shed 3.4 percent, Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) dipped 2.3 percent, and Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) lost 3.5 percent.
Stocks. Global stocks retreated. The benchmark S&P 500 index pulled back 7 points, to end at 1,405.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average erased 80.26 points, to 13,117.47. The tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 16.45 points, to 3,103.90. European markets closed lower on weak U.K. economic growth. Asian bourses finished in red.
Bonds. Treasuries fell after the $35 billion auction of 5-year notes drew tepid demand. Yield on the benchmark 10-year note rose to 2.20 percent.
Commodities. Brent crude fell for a second session, breaching $125, to settle at $124.16 a barrel. April natural gas contract expired at a fresh 10-year low. Gold for April delivery slumped on signs of weak physical demand to $1,657.90 an ounce. Copper, silver and palladium finished down at least 2 percent while prices for wheat, corn and soybeans fell. Cotton rose.
Currencies. The U.S. dollar edged higher against the euro and slipped against the yen. The ICE dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, rose to 79.13. Emerging market currencies fell, with the Russian ruble and South African rand suffering the biggest losses.