NEW YORK, March 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks cut earlier gains to dip into negative territory Wednesday, as investors weighed increasing worries over Crimea against upbeat economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 98.89 points, or 0.60 percent, to 16,268.99. The S&P 500 lost 13.06 points, or 0.70 percent, to 1,852.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 60.69 points, or 1.43 percent, to 4,173.58.
In response to stronger-than-expected U.S. durable goods data, the market opened higher, after snapping a two-session losing streak on upbeat consumer confidence data in the previous trading day.
The major indices, however, drifted below flatline after noon, as uncertainties over Ukraine increased.
"We were kind of sidelines straight across for most of the afternoon drifting a little bit lower," Joseph Greco, managing director-trading & sales at Meridian, told Xinhua Wednesday, attributing the downward pressure largely to renewed market worries on Ukraine following U.S. President Barack Obama's remarks on Crimea in the afternoon.
Asked why the Nasdaq underperformed the other two indices, Greco said tech-rich index tends to be a little more volatile, which has been up quite a bit more than the broader S&P 500 has so far this year.
The economic data rolled out positive in general in the day but it failed to push the market higher.
U.S. new orders for manufactured durable goods in February jumped 2.2 percent to 229.4 billion U.S. dollars after two consecutive monthly declines, the Commerce Department said, beating analysts' expectations.
Moreover, the service sector activity growth rebounded in March, which partly reflected a catch-up effect after weather-related disruptions in the previous month, financial data firm Markit said.
The Markit Flash U.S. Services Purchasing Managers' Index registered 55.5 in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, picking up sharply from February's four-month low of 53.3.
Meanwhile, in the week ending March 21, U.S. mortgage applications decreased 3.5 percent from a week earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.
For the rest of the week, Greco predicted that the stock market probably would continue the downward movement.
In corporate news, King Digital Entertainment, an Irish company that developed the mobile hit Candy Crush Saga, started trading on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday morning. The company's shares closed at 19 dollars per share sharply lower than its initial public offering price of 22.50 dollars per share.
In other markets, the dollar declined against most major currencies but it continued rising versus the euro on concerns over economic situation in the eurozone.
In late New York trading, the euro dropped to 1.3793 dollars from 1.3826 dollars in the previous session. The dollar bought 102. 06 Japanese yen, lower than 102.27 yen of the previous session.
Oil price gained on stronger-than-expected U.S. durable goods data. Light, sweet crude for May delivery moved up 1.07 dollars to settle at 100.26 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery gained 4 cents to close at 107.03 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange closed at a near six-week low on a stronger dollar. The most active gold contract for April delivery dropped 8 dollars, or 0.61 percent, to settle at 1,303.4 dollars per ounce.