The Dow Jones industrial average lost 124 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 15,883 as of noon (1700 GMT) Tuesday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell nine points, or 0.5 per cent, to 1,791. The Nasdaq composite fell 14 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 4,031.
Companies that depend heavily on consumer spending had some of the biggest losses. GameStop, the video game retailer, sank $1.52, or 3 per cent, to $45.45, one of the worst declines in the S&P 500 index. Amazon.com fell $8.30, or 2 per cent, to $3.84.
The Dow is headed for its first three-day losing streak in two months.