Wall Street slipped on Tuesday, in tandem with a renewed slide in oil prices, as yet another rally failed to take off in what has been a turbulent year so far for markets.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi told global energy executives on Tuesday that the kingdom had not "declared war" on rival producers, and welcomed the rise of nimble U.S. shale oil firms who will help quickly meet growing global demand.
U.S. crude was down more than 3 percent after Al-Naimi restated Saudi Arabia's rationale for maintaining output in the face of a global glut.
The S&P financial sector has been the worst performer among the 10 major sectors this year as banks brace for a wave of potential defaults by energy companies.
JP Morgan said on Tuesday it would set aside an additional $500 million to cover losses stemming from the energy sector. Its shares were down 3.6 percent at $56.49.
"The market is still groping for direction," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
"You still see this hypersensitivity to what's going on with the price of oil and the market's reacting on a day-to-day basis to that. It really shouldn't, but it gives you a sense of the nervousness out there," he said.
At 10:26 a.m. ET (1526 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was down 99.75 points, or 0.6 percent, at 16,520.91, the S&P 500 was down 13.67 points, or 0.7 percent, at 1,931.83 and the Nasdaq Composite index was down 37.90 points, or 0.83 percent, at 4,532.70.
All 10 major S&P sectors were lower. Materials fell 1.9 percent, while financials fell 1.5 percent. Energy stocks were down 1.15 percent.
U.S. stocks closed higher on Monday, extending last week's gains after strong labor and inflation data. Still, the S&P 500 is down 4.8 percent this year.
Uncertainty surrounding monetary policy has also curbed investors' appetite for risk.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,887 to 910. On the Nasdaq, 1,541 issues fell and 930 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed six new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 14 new highs and 24 lows.
(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)
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Updated Date: Feb 24, 2016 00:00 AM