The moves came on a day in which data showed U.S. payrolls increased by 200,000 in December, according to the Labor Department, topping expectations. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.5%.
But investors were focused on the troubles continuing to fester overseas, particularly in Europe. Italy's market fell, dragged down by an 11% fall at UniCredit. The bank's stock has plunged 38% in the past four days. Germany's DAX index dropped 0.6%. Economic data for the region also showed unemployment rising for a seventh-consecutive month, while November factory orders in Germany fell nearly 5%.
In corporate news, Alcoa slumped 2.1% to lead the Dow decliners after the aluminum producer said it plans to close or curtail about 12% of its global smelting capacity.