U.S. stocks extended losses Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 200 points in the final half-hour before the closing bell. Investors ended a choppy trading session on the last day of 2015's first quarter as losses Tuesday pushed the blue-chip index into negative territory for the year. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq composite and S&P 500 extended their winning streaks for a ninth straight quarter.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped 200.19 points, or 1.11 percent, to close at 17,776.12. The Standard & Poor's 500 (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) dipped 18.35 points, or 0.88 percent, to end at 2,067.89. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 46.56 points, or 0.94 percent, to finish at 4,900.88.
For the year, the Dow has lost 43 points, or 0.24 percent. The S&P 500 index has risen 9 points, or 0.44 percent, while the Nasdaq composite has gained 165 points, or 3.5 percent, in the last three months.
Economists are looking ahead to a batch of economic data Wednesday, which includes the ADP Employment Report for March, released at 8:15 a.m. EDT. The U.S. private sector expanded by 212,000 jobs in February, bringing total private employment to its largest since 2001. But the pace of job growth has cooled each month since November, when 284,000 positions were added to the private sector.
The ADP Report is typically used as a pre-indicator of the health of the overall U.S. labor market ahead of the government’s jobs report, which will be released Friday. Economists expect 225,000 jobs were added to the private sector in March, up from 212,000 in February, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Global financial information and services company Markit will publish its Purchasing Managers' Index at 9:45 a.m. EDT, an indicator used to gauge the overall health of the private sector economy. The Institute of Supply Management will issue its manufacturing index at 10 a.m. EDT, which market professionals watch to assess the strength of the U.S. manufacturing sector.
The U.S. Department of Commerce will post its construction spending data for February at 10 a.m. EDT, while major car manufacturers will release motor vehicle sales for March throughout the day.
In Europe, meanwhile, the Greek government and EU finance ministers are scheduled to resume talks Wednesday, continuing debt negotiations regarding Greece’s reform plans after Athens and its creditors failed to reach a deal earlier this week, putting the country at risk of going bankrupt in a matter of weeks.
The U.S. dollar rose more than 0.3 percent against major world currencies Tuesday, and has gained more than 9 percent this year, putting the greenback on track for its best quarter since 2008. Meanwhile, the euro is on track for its biggest quarterly drop since its 1999 inception as the Greek debt crisis continues to depress the common currency. The euro fell as low as $1.0715 in morning trading Tuesday, and has lost more than 11 percent this year.
Oil prices closed lower for a third session Tuesday as investors await a possible nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers that could ease Western sanctions and allow more Iranian crude into an oversupplied global market. West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for U.S. oil prices, dropped more than 2 percent Tuesday to $47.60 a barrel, for May 15 delivery, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the benchmark for global oil prices, lost 90 cents to $55.30 a barrel, for May 15 delivery, on the London ICE Futures Exchange.