Stocks closed sharply lower on concerns about the weak dollar, sluggish sales at Wal-Mart and higher oil prices.
It was the worst decline for the markets in over four months
The Dow Jones Industrial Average led the downward slide, declining more then 150 points, on a sharp drop in Wal-Mart shares, a Dow component.The Nasdaq also turned sharply lower on a decline in technology stocks. The S&P 500 also ended lower.
Investors will be looking at some key economic data on Tuesday, when the government will report on durable goods, housing and consumer confidence. Later in the week, there will be reports on the latest revision third-quarter economic growth and measures of manufacturing activity and personal spending and income.
Also Tuesday, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak on the economic outlook, which could provide investors with clues on what Fed policymakers may do at their Dec. 12 meeting.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, said on Saturday that same-store sales fell 0.1% in November from a year earlier. Final November sales figures for Wal-Mart and other major retailers will be out on Thursday.
"This is the first negative (comparison) we've seen in about 10 years from Wal-Mart and only the second one in about 25 years, so the idea of Wal-Mart having a negative comp certainly throws some spook into the marketplace," said John Lawrence, Senior Retail Analyst for Morgan Keegan, appearing on CNBC's Street Signs.
Pressure on Wal-Mart also dragged down other major retailers, down including Target, Sears Holdings, Federated Department Stores and J.C. Penney.