U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor™s 500 Index to a fourth straight loss, as a decline in American retail sales and slump in copper prices spurred concern that global growth is slowing.

Equities pared losses during the afternoon after oil prices wiped out a drop of 1.9 percent and proceeded to rally almost 7 percent, while the Federal Reserve™s Beige Book said the U.S. economy continued to expand last month.

The S&P 500 dropped 0.6 percent to 2,011.29 at 4 p.m. in New York, trimming an earlier decline of 1.7 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 187.30 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,426.38. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 38 percent above the 30-day average for this time of the day.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc., the largest publicly-traded copper producer, dropped 11 percent as the metal™s price plunged 5.3 percent. JPMorgan Chase & Co. lost 3.5 percent after fourth-quarter profits slumped, while an index of banks tumbled 10 percent from a December high. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. retreated 3.1 percent as the World Bank lowered its outlook for the global economy.

After going through all of 2014 without a losing streak of more than three days, the S&P 500 today completed its second slide of at least four straight days in the past 11 sessions. The gauge has tumbled 3.8 percent in that period.

Source: Bloomberg