U.S. stocks fell in afternoon trading on Tuesday, with energy shares leading the selloff as crude prices declined for a fourth straight day, adding to global demand worries.
The S&P 500 energy sector was down 2.2 percent, extending the group’s recent drop, the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF fell 2.3 percent, and Chevron Corp fell 1.3 percent.
U.S. crude oil dropped below $77 a barrel to its lowest level in about three years after Saudi Arabia cut sales prices to the United States. Crude is down more than 30 percent from a recent closing peak and down 7 percent over the past four sessions.
Among other top negative influences, shares of Priceline.com dropped 8.6 percent, the largest percentage decliner on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq, after posting quarterly earnings below Wall Street’s expectations.
Energy has lagged the broader market this year, hit hard by plunging oil prices. The S&P energy index is the only one of the 10 primary sectors to remain negative on the year.
The decline in oil “has an immediate effect on the energy sector, of course, but it also has implications for the broader market, reflecting a lack of demand,” said John Kosar, director of research with Asbury Research in Chicago. “With the market at record highs, you’d like to see oil do better since demand for oil indicates the economy is humming along.”
At 1:43 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average fell 13.9 points, or 0.08 percent, to 17,352.34, the S&P 500 lost 9.7 points, or 0.48 percent, to 2,008.11 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 27.40 points, or 0.59 percent, to 4,611.51.
Alibaba Group Holding rose 2.3 percent to $104.15 on massive volume after the Chinese e-commerce giant reported its first quarterly results as a public company, posting revenue growth of 53.7 percent.
The market’s recent rally, which took both the Dow and S&P 500 to intraday records on Monday, has largely come on strong corporate financial results, which have eased some concerns about economic growth.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,923 to 1,097, for a 1.75-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,563 issues fell and 1,049 advanced for a 1.49-to-1 ratio.
The S&P 500 posted 74 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 73 new highs and 42 new lows.