Banks, which stand to prosper because of higher interest rates on loans, bucked the downward trend.
Stocks give back a chunk of their May rally at the open, as spiking bond yields prompt investor concern about the potential for accelerated Fed rate hikes; Dow -0.7%, S&P -0.8%, Nasdaq -1%.
The S&P 500 fell 18 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,711.
Core April retail sales - which excludes gasoline, automobiles, building materials and food services - rose at a brisker 0.4 percent monthly pace over March, as consumer spending is quickening its pace after a first-quarter slowdown. Smaller rival Lowe's Companies Inc was down 1.0%.
Stocks are opening moderately higher on Wall Street, led by gains in technology, health care and energy companies. The Nasdaq climbed 8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,411.
The declines Tuesday put the Dow Jones industrial average on track to end an eight-day winning streak.
Markets focused early on economic reports with sales at United States retailers rising for a second straight month in April.
The S&P 500 posted 10 new 52-week highs and seven new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 82 new highs and 51 new lows.
In Asia, shares declined on Wednesday in morning session after North Korea pulled out of high-level talks with Seoul and as US Treasury yields rose to the highest level in seven years overnight. The Dow Jones Small-Cap Value TSM Index closed at 10,162.47 for a gain of 1.12 points or 0.01%.
US stocks dropped sharply on Tuesday after Home Depot reported quarterly sales that fell short of Wall Street's expectations and interest rates breached new highs.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.05 percent, its highest level since July 2011.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 193 points to close at 24,706.41, with Home Depot among the biggest contributors of losses.