Stocks declined Wednesday as investors grew jittery over a government report showing that housing starts fell sharply in October.
Techs, which have been an investor favorite as of late, took a hit after engineering-software maker Autodesk delivered a weaker-than-expected outlook and customer-relations software maker Salesforce.com reported a slowdown in new business.
Housing starts unexpectedly fell 10.6 percentto their lowest level in six months, weighed down by a sharp decline in construction activity for both single-family and multi-family dwellings.
At the same time, the consumer price index rose 0.3 percent, indicating that inflation may not be quite as benign as some economists have indicated.
At the halfway point, HP , Intel and Disney were the biggest drags on the Dow. Bank of America and McDonald's were the indexes biggest gainers.