Updated from 4:06 p.m. EDT

Tech stocks led the markets lower Wednesday as oil prices spiked late in a see-saw session that ultimately couldn't shake weak margin guidance from Intel ( INTC) and a larger-than-expected drop in retail sales.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 38.79 points, or 0.38%, to 10,208.80; the S&P 500 shed 3.67 points, or 0.33%, to 1111.47; and Nasdaq Composite dropped to its lowest close since late May, down 16.78 points, or 0.87%, to 1914.88. The 10-year Treasury bond was trading down 2/32 in price to yield 4.48%, while the dollar was higher against the yen and lower against the euro.

Volume picked up during the selloff, approaching 1.5 billion shares on the New York Stock Exchange, where decliners held a small majority, and reaching nearly 2.1 billion shares on the Nasdaq, where decliners almost doubled advancers.

Oil prices soared above $41-a-barrel level after the International Energy Agency estimated that oil demand this year has grown by 2.3 million barrels a day, or 2.9%, to 81.1 million, the steepest annual increase since 1980. Meanwhile, the world's margin of spare production capacity has likely fallen below 2% of demand for the first time since the oil crises of the 1970s, leaving the global oil supply system particularly vulnerable to disruptions and price spikes.

The benchmark U.S. crude added $1.61, or 4%, to $41.15, its highest close in six weeks and about a dollar shy of its record high touched in early June.

"The bargain hunters seem to be taking the rest of the day off," said Tom Schrader, a trader with Legg Mason, in the midst of afternoon trading. "Oil going back above the $40 mark is definitely a negative for the market and that could have a lot to do with it."

All three indices are now in negative territory for the year. The Nasdaq now sits near its May low while the other major averages are approaching theirs, a technical support level that, if broken, could signal further downside. "The recent market action has been negative and there is a good possibility that the bottom of the six-month base will be taken out," said Mark Arbeter, chief technical analyst with Standard & Poors.