A real estate group's report that sales of existing homes fell in January to the lowest level in nearly 12 years is fanning investor worries.
Wall Street has ended an erratic session with a loss, but still showed its resilience as some of investors' big questions are slowly answered.
Major indexes ended down about 1 percent after recovering from even steeper losses. The Treasury Department confirmed Wednesday it will buy preferred shares from banks that can convert into common shares.
Investors remain worried, though, about the recession deepening, dividends disappearing and the toxic assets on banks' books.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average is down about 80 points at 7,270. The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq composite index also declined.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 3 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was 1.7 billion shares.