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Stocks Plunge on Weak Data, Greece Concerns

"Everyone is just trying to get a read on where this is heading. There's so much in the way of structural imbalances in the recovery that these flat spots are completely normal but the recovery isn't strong enough not to feel some pain from these flat spots," he said.

Of the 4.2 billion shares that traded on the New York Stock Exchange, 7% advanced while 92% declined. 2 million shares changed hands on the Nasdaq.

"We need continued progress on all fronts and no new front to open up before we can see the market go back to where it was," said Jim Cramer in his RealMoney blog on Wednesday. "I am seeing ample research that indicates how cheap this market has become. I saw a chart yesterday that basically said tech's the cheapest it has ever been."

Basic materials and energy stocks took the session's biggest losses while defensive names showed mild declines. Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Alcoa (AA - Get Report) and Caterpillar (CAT) were the Dow's biggest laggards, while McDonald's (MCD), Walt Disney (DIS) and Kraft Foods (KFT) traded only slightly to the downside. All 30 Dow components ended in negative territory.

Amidst the bad news, shares of Internet radio company Pandora Media (P) made a strong debut on the New York Stock Exchange , rising as high as $26 per share at one point, nearly 63% above the IPO's $16 per share pricing. But the stock cooled in afternoon action and ended at $17.42 with volume running above 37 million.

Boeing (BA) said it plans to boost production of the 737 aircraft to 42 planes per month in the first half of 2014, leading to an annual production of 500 airplanes, or two per workday. The stock declined 1.1% to $73.85.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) fell 2.2% to $40.68 on news that the company agreed to a multi-million dollar fine for what banking regulators described as "high-pressure sales tactics" tied to a discontinued credit-protection product.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the sale by Merrill Lynch of a complex mortgage-related security it created for an Illinois hedge fund , according to a Financial Times report. Shares of Bank of America, Merrill Lynch's parent company, ended down 2.9% at $10.49.
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Chart of I:DJI
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