This story was updated at 4:15 p.m. EST.
U.S. stocks fell Tuesday after a rally kicked off the week’s trading the day before. Commodities took back some gains that pushed U.S. markets to more than six-week highs on Monday. U.S. housing data released before the opening bell showed that home prices continued to rise in December, but at a slower pace.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) closed down 189.01 points, or 1.14 percent, to 16,431.65 shortly after the opening bell on Tuesday morning. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index (INDEXSP:.INX) was down 24.23 points, or 1.25 percent, to 1,921.27. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) dropped 67.02 points, or 1.47 percent, to 4,503.58. Both the S&P and Dow are down about 6 percent for the year while the Nasdaq has lost 10 percent.
“Sparked by the stock market’s turmoil since the beginning of the year, some are concerned that the current economic expansion is aging quite rapidly,” David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.
While U.S. home prices missed estimates, separate data released Tuesday on existing home sales showed a slight gain in January, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales of built homes ticked up 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.47 million from a downwardly revised 5.45 million in December. Analysts polled by Bloomberg had expected a 2.5 percent drop to 5.32 million.
Meanwhile, consumer confidence fell in February to its lowest level in seven months, the Conference Board said Tuesday.
‘Safe Harbor’ Bets
The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fell to 1.742 Tuesday afternoon after rising early in the day to 1.806. The bond yield typically rises when investors are more confident about the markets and falls when concerns flare. Gold, another so-called safe harbor investment, gained 1.1 percent to $1,222.30 per troy ounce. Gold prices tend to fall as confidence in the markets strengthens and rises when there is increased uncertainty.
Oil prices were taking back some of their gains from Monday. Prices spiked after the International Energy Agency said U.S. shale oil production could fall by 600,000 barrels per day this year. Futures traders have been playing tug-of-war with oil prices while investors have been using crude as a barometer of global economic growth.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate was down 4.61 percent to $31.85 per barrel for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the other major global benchmark, fell 3.98 percent to $33.31 for April delivery on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
In Europe, weaker German business data offered support for additional European Central Bank stimulus policy, while in Asia, the People’s Bank of China sent a downbeat signal by adjusting the yuan’s value against the dollar. The move, an aim to spur exports, weighs on concern over slower growth.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed Tuesday down 0.37 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.25 percent. The China mainland’s Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index lost 0.95 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index lost 0.11 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.43 percent.
European shares closed down on Tuesday. The broad Stoxx Europe 600 index lost 1.23 percent. The Paris-based CAC 40 was down 1.40 percent, while London’s FTSE dropped 1.25 percent. Frankfurt’s DAX rose lost 1.64 percent.