U.S. stocks slipped on Wednesday as investors fretted about a lack of catalysts that would extend the current seven-month rally, especially after disappointing September new home sales data.

Major indexes extended losses from morning trading, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes falling more than 1 percent. Top drags included technology, financials and natural resources sectors.

Sales of newly built single-family homes fell 3.6 percent last month, their first drop since March, prompting investors to doubt the strength of recovery in consumer mood and the housing sector.

The number was surprisingly weak. I think that is going to add to the trend that we've seen recently where investors are questioning the robust pace of economic recovery going forward, said Joe Manimbo, currency trader at Travelex Global Business Payments in Washington.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 28.42 points, or 0.29 percent, at 9,853.75. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> lost 9.08 points, or 0.85 percent, at 1,054.33. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> fell 29.84 points, or 1.41 percent, to 2,086.25.

The Nasdaq fared worse than the other two indexes as Apollo Group Inc shed 16.4 percent to $61.04 after it said federal regulators launched an informal inquiry into its revenue recognition practices. At least three brokerages downgraded the company.

Among financials, JPMorgan Chase & Co fell 1.5 percent to $43.25 and Bank of America Corp lost 1.8 percent to $15.17.

But Visa Inc jumped 4.9 percent to $77.52 a day after it posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit, raised its dividend and authorized a stock-buyback plan.

A report earlier in the morning showed new orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose 1 percent in September, suggesting the economy was steadying, but the data's impact was limited as it matched economists' expectations.

(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)