Stocks dropped for the second straight session on Wednesday, a day after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting suggested further monetary stimulus was unlikely and a disappointing Spanish debt auction rekindled euro-zone concerns, Reuters reports.
Spanish borrowing costs jumped at bond auctions, sparking worry about a recurrence of a euro-zone debt crisis and highlighting recession worries in the region.
The PHLX Europe sector index .XEX lost 3 percent.
Selling was broad as indexes tracking nine of the 10 S&P 500 sectors were lower, with energy, financial and technology stocks among the worst performers. The benchmark S&P 500 index has fallen in eight of the past 12 sessions. The Nasdaq was on track for its worst percentage drop since December 8.
Two Long-Term Refinancing Operations launched by the European Central Bank had helped push euro-zone fears to the background and enabled investors to focus on improving domestic data and a supportive monetary policy from the Fed, sending the S&P 500 up more than 27 percent from its October low.