Stocks fell on Tuesday as a surprising drop in retail sales dented hopes that the recession was abating and financial shares slid on fears that a stock offering by Goldman Sachs could prompt others to follow suit.

Retail sales in March snapped two months of gains and sparked selling across the board, with shares of retailers, big manufacturers and energy companies among the casualties.

Financials, which have led the stock market's five-week rebound from 12-year lows, took the biggest beating by far, with the KBW Bank index <.BKX> falling 8.2 percent. Goldman Sachs lost 11.6 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 137.63 points, or 1.71 percent, to close unofficially at 7,920.18. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> lost 17.22 points, or 2.01 percent, to 841.51. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> dropped 27.59 points, or 1.67 percent, to 1,625.72.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jan Paschal)