Stocks fell on Thursday, with bank shares pressured as negotiations over a financial reform bill approached the final hours, while investors remained skittish about the pace of the economic recovery.

Democrats in charge of the process appeared likely to retain tough restrictions on banks' trading and investment activities that could crimp profits. JPMorgan Chase & Co was the biggest drag on the Dow, falling 2.8 percent to $37.81 as the KBW bank index <.BKX> lost 2.1 percent.

A drop in initial jobless claims and a rise in long-lasting manufactured goods provided some comfort, but the reports were not enough to offset jitters after recent weak economic news, including Wednesday's sharp decline in new home sales. The Federal Reserve's gloomier statement about the economy underscored concerns.

What's on everyone's mind is a potential double dip, said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio.

There's still uncertainty in the financial reform bill ... Until that's resolved and we have a more clear-cut idea of what's going to happen, that uncertainty will probably lead to continued relative weakness.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 76.41 points, or 0.74 percent, to 10,222.03. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 9.05 points, or 0.83 percent, to 1,082.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> shed 17.62 points, or 0.78 percent, to 2,236.61.

In a bearish technical sign, the S&P opened below its 14-day moving average and breached a key level as it punched through 1,083, the 23.6 percent Fibonacci retracement of the slide from its 2010 high in April to the year's low earlier this month.

Shares of Nike Inc tumbled 3.6 percent to $69.89 after the footwear and clothing maker cautioned that the strong dollar and higher costs would weigh on earnings and sales.

Pfizer Inc lost 1.8 percent to $14.62 after it suspended clinical trials of its experimental arthritis drug.

(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)