U.S. stocks fell in early trade on Tuesday as Alcoa sales missed estimates and energy stocks declined as oil prices plunged more than 2 percent.
The S&P 500 Index declined 10.29 points, or 0.78 percent, to trade at 1,314.03 at 10:30 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 109.17 points, or 0.88 percent, to trade at 12,271.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.89 percent.
Shares of Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) declined 5.23 percent to $16.84 in early trade as its first quarter revenue fell short of expectations. The New York-based aluminum producer said its first quarter sales grew 22 percent to $5.96 billion, but fell short of analysts' forecast of $6.07 billion. Earnings from continuing operations were $309 million or 27 cents a share, compared to a loss of $194 million or 19 cents a share last year.
Energy sector share declined as oil prices plunged 2.97 percent to $106.66 a barrel after warned that the recent commodities boom is probably running out of steam. Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX) declined 3.18 percent to $104.35 and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) fell 2.14 percent to $83.36.
Meanwhile, Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said it has raised the accident levels at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant to level 7 Major Accident. The 1986 Chernobyl accident is the only other nuclear accident to have been rated a Level 7 event.
On the economic front, the US trade gap narrowed slightly less-than-expected in February, following a surge in the previous month. The US trade deficit of goods and services fell to $45.8 billion in February compared with a deficit of $47 billion in November and against analysts’ expectations of $45.7 billion in February.
The euro advanced 0.44 percent to 1.4500 against the dollar and the yen advanced 0.71 percent against the greenback.
European stock markets are currently trading lower with FTSE 100 down by 83.80 points, DAX30 down by 92.19 points and CAC 40 down by 59.97 points.