In the US markets, stocks pared their losses in the final hour of trading to close off their lows, with the S&P 500 clawing back above the widely-watched 1,500 level.
Stocks were sharply lower for most of the session, pressured by disappointing economic reports and amid continued worries the Federal Reserve might scale back its bond-buying program. The CBOE volatility index held above 15 trading at its highest level this year.
Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.34% or 46.92 points at 13880.62. Nasdaq Composite slipped 1.04% or 32.92 points at 3131.49. Standard & Poor's 500 fell 0.63% or 9.53 points at 1502.42.
In economic data front, Philadelphia Fed survey indicated that its index of business conditions in the mid-Atlantic region contracted sharply for the second month in February to -12.5.
Adding to woes, weekly jobless claims jumped 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000. Existing home sales edged up to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.92 million, largely in line with expectations, but the supply of homes for sale contracted to the lowest level in more than 13 years.
In the currency space, the euro slumps further to a six-week low versus the dollar by uncertainty ahead of Italy's election at the weekend. The dollar index strong above 81 levels.
In commodities, Brent crude slips further to USD 113 levels pressured by weak global economic data.
From the precious metals space, gold recovers 1 percent as weaker US economic data boosted hopes that the Federal Reserve will maintain its monetary stimulus.
READ MORE ON US markets, Wall Street, Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite, Standard & Poor's 500
ADS BY GOOGLE
video of the day
Dont see mkt going anywhere now; like Bharat Forge: Dipen