US stocks gave up early gains on positive US economic data to sink lower Wednesday as worries over Greece's future in the eurozone hit investor sentiment.
GE shares surged on news that its financial unit was back to health, but poor earnings results for big retailers JC Penney and Abercrombie & Fitch sent their shares to double-digit losses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 33.45 points, or 0.26 percent, at 12,598.55.
The S&P 500 dropped 5.86 (0.44 percent) to 1,324.80, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 19.72 points (0.68 percent) to 2,874.04.
"Positive US economic data aided markets to the upside" in morning trade, said Wells Fargo Advisors, referring to new figures showing April surges in industrial production and new home construction.
But, they said, "despite the encouraging reports, stocks pared their gains as eurozone fears resurfaced. The ECB said it has no immediate plans to increase stimulus and said it may halt monetary policy operations to certain Greek banks."
General Electric led a handful of Dow gainers, its shares climbing 3.3 percent on news that its subsidiary GE Capital, hobbled during the financial crisis, will resume paying dividends to the parent.
"This action demonstrates the strength of GE Capital and the significant actions taken to strengthen its liquidity, capital, asset quality and profitability," said GE chief executive Jeff Immelt.
Another big gainer was Google, adding 2.9 percent as it announced improved search technology ahead of the public listing of its online ads rival Facebook.
But most shares were lower.
Poor US first-quarter sales and earnings sent JC Penney's shares down 19.7 percent, while Abercrombie & Fitch tumbled 13.0 percent after reporting that weak sales in crisis-hit Europe drove its overall quarter below expectations.
Another retail chain, office supply business Staples, fell 5.7 percent after it said its quarter was also hit by slower sales in depressed Europe.
US bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.76 percent from 1.78 percent Tuesday, while the 30-year dipped to 2.91 percent from 2.93 percent.
Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.