The Nasdaq composite index fell 48.29 to 2,121.66. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 76.76 to 10,871.62.
Retail sales inched up a scant 0.1 percent in May, according to new data from the Commerce Department. That was even weaker than the 0.2 percent gain Wall Street expected.
These sales are closely monitored as a proxy for overall consumer spending that accounts for two-thirds of national economic activity. Analysts said the sales figures reinforce the impression that the second quarter could be the weakest for the economy this year. But it could also lead to a deeper-than-expected cut in interest rates later this month.
Speaking at the Bear Stearns Technology conference in New York, EMC Chairman Mike Ruettgers said the data-storage leader has held out through previous market turmoil, and its business is roughly on track with the outlook given in April. EMC shares fell $1.44 to $30.30.
Shares of semiconductor maker Integrated Device Technology slid $1.31 to $33.25 after the company said it was letting go 900 people, around 18 percent of its work force, due to slowing demand for chips.
Loudcloud shares sank nearly 25 percent after analysts cut their ratings on the stock. Loudcloud, which sells managed Internet services, reported a net loss of $60.3 million, or $1.25 a share, for its first quarter Tuesday, far below analyst expectations. Wednesday, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, companies that led Loudcloud's public offering, lowered their ratings on the stock. Shares were down 83 cents to $2.55.
Microtest nearly doubled, rising $3.79 to $7.99, after Danaher announced plans to buy the company in a deal worth $74 million. Danaher makes tools and components and plans to merge Microtest's computer network management technology into its Fluke Networks subsidiary, which maintains and monitors computer networks. Danaher fell 4 cents to $64.07.
SAP dropped 14 cents to $36.15. The enterprise software giant on Wednesday unveiled several big partnerships at its annual U.S. user conference. One of the people promoting SAP's efforts at the conference was Ray Lane, former president of SAP rival Oracle. Shares of Oracle lost 64 cents to $15.50.
Among leading volume movers, Cisco Systems fell $1.35 to $19.02, Intel was down $1.07 to $29.06, and Microsoft dropped $1.39 to $70.69.
Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.