The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 indexes extended losses on Wednesday after data showed a surprise drop in September new homes sales, the latest sign the economic recovery may be slower than hoped.

The Dow industrials reversed course soon after the data, briefly turning positive, led by gains in Verizon Communications Inc after it unveiled a new phone with Motorola Inc .

Sales of newly built U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly tumbled 3.6 percent in September in their first drop since March, but the inventory of new homes available at the end of the month shrank to the smallest in 27 years, government data showed on Wednesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 17.23 points, or 0.17 percent, at 9,864.94. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 6.38 points, or 0.60 percent, at 1,057.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 16.68 points, or 0.79 percent, at 2,099.41.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)