Stocks slid amid signs that American consumer demand may be weakening, and fears about the Greek debt crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 33.30 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 12,572.63 in afternoon trading.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 4.08 pointas, or 0.30 per cent, to 1,339.62. The Nasdaq composite index fell 8.88 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 2,824.49.
Japanese stocks fell for a second day, led by utility companies as uncertainty about the outlook for Japan's energy industry increased ahead of Tokyo Electric Power Co saying its full-year profit plunged.
The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.1 per cent to 9,607.08. The broader Topix index dropped 0.5 per cent to 827.77 with about three stocks falling for every two that rose.