Banks, energy companies and chipmakers were the biggest decliners.
Trading was among the lightest of the year, with 6.07bn shares traded on the NYSE, Nasdaq and Amex combined. That contrasted with the 2009 average daily volume of 9.65bn shares.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 107.24 points, or 1.03 per cent, at 10,340.69. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 12.67 points, or 1.15 per cent, at 1,091.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 24.86 points, or 1.11 per cent, at 2,208.89.
The KBW Bank index lost 3.2 per cent and the S&P financial index fell 2.4 per cent.
European bank shares traded on Wall Street lost ground. Barclays US-traded shares dropped 5.7 per cent to $19.13, Deutsche Bank ADRs were down 3.2 per cent at $62.52, and UBS ADRs dipped 2.9 per cent to $17.52.