Stocks fell on Thursday after data showed existing home sales fell 3 percent in March to a much lower-than-expected annual rate.

The (housing) data shows a market that still remains somewhat in the doldrums. We've seen weak purchase data and this shows weakness outside of foreclosures, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 61.81 points, or 0.78 percent, to 7,824.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was off 5.51 points, or 0.65 percent, to 838.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 13.71 points, or 0.83 percent, at 1,632.41.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr and Ryan Vlastelica; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)