The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 282.12 points, or 0.79 percent, to 35,343.28. The S&P 500 was down 31.63 points, or 0.71 percent, to 4,448.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 137.58 points, or 0.93 percent, to 14,656.18.
Ten of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with consumer discretionary down 2.68 percent, leading the laggards. Health care rose 0.4 percent, the lone gaining group.
U.S.-listed Chinese companies traded lower with all the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index ending the day on a downbeat note.
U.S. retail sales sank 1.1 percent last month, the Department of Commerce reported on Tuesday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal forecast a 0.3-percent decline.
"July retail spending disappointed, especially considering high inflation," Chris Low and Will Compernolle, economists at FHN Financial, said in a note, adding "the low preliminary August Michigan sentiment reading suggests the next retail sales should be even weaker."
The preliminary estimate of the consumer sentiment index released Friday by the University of Michigan came in at 70.2 in August, down from 81.2 in July, amid concerns over a rapid spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
The average daily increase of cases in the United States was over 108,000 in the seven-day period ending Sunday, compared with a seven-day average of around 31,000 daily cases a month ago, according to the latest data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.