U.S. shares tumbled as a drop in durable-goods orders and disappointing results from Caterpillar Inc. to Microsoft Corp. heightened concern about the economy™s strength.

Technology shares in the Standard & Poor™s 500 Index plunged 3.3 percent for the biggest drop since November 2011. Microsoft lost 9.3 percent, the most in 18 months, as software-license sales to businesses were below forecasts. Caterpillar plunged 7.2 percent after forecasting 2015 results that trailed estimates as plunging oil prices signal lower demand from energy companies. Procter & Gamble Co. slid 3.5 percent as a surging U.S. dollar cut into its earnings.

The Standard & Poor™s 500 Index slipped 1.3 percent to 2,029.61 at 4 p.m. in New York, below its average price for the past 50 days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 291.30 points, or 1.7 percent, to 17,387.40, after losing almost 400 points earlier in the day.

Trading in S&P 500 companies was 15 percent above the 30-day average as exchanges opened for a full day despite a snow storm that shut down travel around New York City overnight and during part of the morning.

Source : Bloomberg