The US dollar fell, while Wall Street slid with the price of oil, as investors tried to gauge the timing of a Federal Reserve interest rate increase.

Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer warned that low interest rates may threaten financial stability but said "it is not that simple" to raise rates.

A New York Fed report showed its Empire State index unexpectedly fell, declining to a reading of minus 6.8 this month, the lowest since May and down from a minus 2 reading in September.

"People are trying to figure out what the Fed is going to do," Thomas Garcia, head of equity trading at Thornburg Investment Management in Santa Fe, New Mexico, told Bloomberg.


Wall Street declined. In 2.07pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.4 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.3 per cent. In 1.52pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index declined 0.3 per cent.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn told CNBC he is "more and more concerned" about the stock market and that many S&P 500 companies are "way overvalued."

In the Dow, declines in shares of McDonald's and those of Merck, down 1.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively, outweighed advances in shares of Johnson & Johnson and those of Cisco, recently each 0.5 per cent stronger.

Constellation Brands shares fell after it agreed to sell its Canadian wine business to Canada's Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in a deal valued at about C$1.03 billion (US$785 million).

Constellation Brands expects to receive cash proceeds, net of repayment of outstanding debt, of about C$750 million, the company said.

"In April, we announced plans to explore an initial public offering for a portion of our Canadian wine business as part of our strategy to focus on premium, high margin and high growth brands," Rob Sands, chief executive officer, Constellation Brands, said in a statement. "We seized the opportunity to sell the entire business in a value-enhancing transaction when it presented itself."

Shares of Constellation Brands traded 1.5 per cent weaker as of 1.18pm in New York.

People are trying to figure out what the Fed is going to do.

Bucking the trend, Supervalu shares jumped after the US supermarket operator said it agreed to sell its Save-A-Lot business for US$1.365 billion in cash to Canada's Onex Corporation.

The sale is expected to be completed by January 31, 2017, Supervalu said.

"The sale of Save-A-Lot is another important step in Supervalu's transformation," CEO Mark Gross said in a statement. "It provides us with a stronger balance sheet that will allow us to further build on our core strengths and growth opportunities."

Supervalu shares traded 5.8 per cent higher as of 1.07pm in New York. Onex shares traded 0.2 per cent higher in Toronto as of 1.03pm.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a drop of 0.7 per cent. The UK's FTSE 100 Index slid 0.9 per cent, Germany's DAX Index fell 0.7 per cent, while France's CAC 40 Index retreated 0.5 per cent.