The market declines came after mining company BHP Billiton, warned that China's demand for iron ore will flatten. Earlier this month, China cut its 2012 gross domestic product. Additionally, China raised domestic gasoline and diesel prices for the second time this year, prompting concerns that higher prices could weigh on Chinese consumers.
In U.S. economic data, construction of single-family homes skidded 9.9% in February, the largest drop in a year. The data weighed on shares of home builders such as Hovnanian Enterprises, down 4.1%, and Beazer Homes down 2.7%.