Investors were also discouraged by a report showing that consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in seven months.
The& Dow& Jones industrial average fell 188.88 points, or 1.1 percent, to 16,431.78. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 24.23 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,921.27 and the Nasdaq composite fell 67.02 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,503.58.
As has happened multiple times this year, stocks fell in tandem with energy prices.
Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said Tuesday that production cuts to boost oil prices won’t work, and said the world’s oil market should be allowed to work even if that forces some operators out of business. He also said he expects oil prices to remain low for some time.
Crude oil fell $1.52, or 4.6 percent, to $31.87 a barrel while Brent crude, which is used to price oils internationally, fell $1.42, or 4.1 percent, to $33.27 a barrel in London.
Energy stocks fell far more than the rest of the market, with the energy component of the S&P 500 dropping 3.2 percent.
It’s not uncommon to see stocks give up some of their gains after a strong multi-day like the one that happened last week, but traders say the mood in the market is still cautious. They note that trading volume has been far lighter on days the market has risen and heavier on days it has fallen. That suggests there is more interest among investors in getting out of stocks than there is in getting in to them.
“We aren’t seeing the buying interest that you would usually see in a major upward swing in the markets,” said Ryan Larson, head of U.S. equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management. “Although we have come off the bottom, it’s still quite volatile out there.”
Investors were also still watching developments out of China, where the People’s Bank of China announced it had cut its daily rate between the yuan and the dollar more than expected. The weakening yuan was a major cause of market turmoil in August 2015 as investors worried that it signaled a slowdown in China’s economy.
Here in the U.S., a report from the Conference Board showed U.S. consumer confidence fell to 92.2 in February, down sharply from a reading of 97.8 in January and the lowest level since July. Consumers expressed worries about deteriorating business conditions and turbulence in the financial markets for their drop in confidence.
Among individual companies, Fitbit, a maker of wearable fitness trackers, fell $3.44, or 21 percent, to $13.08 after the company issued a weak forecast for 2016.
U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 1.72 percent from 1.75 percent a day earlier. The dollar fell to 112.06 yen from 112.83 yen while the euro weakened to $1.1009 from $1.1026.
In other energy prices, heating oil fell 3.3 cents to $1.022 a gallon, wholesale gasoline fell 3.4 cents to 96.6 cents and natural gas fell 3.9 cents to $1.782 per thousand cubic feet.
Precious and industrial metals futures ended mixed. Gold rose $12.50 to $1,222.60 an ounce, silver rose six cents to $15.24 an ounce and copper slipped a penny to $2.11 a pound.