Stock indexes slid 1 percent on Tuesday as oil prices sank and Alcoa's leaner-than-expected revenue started the earnings season on a disappointing note.
Energy stocks turned in the worst performance, with the S&P Energy Index <.GSPE> losing 3.2 percent alongside oil prices. U.S. crude futures fell 3.4 percent to $106.18 per barrel while Brent crude dropped 2.4 percent to $121.05. Dow component Chevron Corp
Goldman Sachs shook oil markets for a second day after it called for a fall of almost $20 in the price of Brent crude oil in coming months.
There's growing recognition that the recovery is fragile in a lot of ways, and that we can't totally rely on demand from China, India or Brazil to keep us rising, said Randy Bateman, who helps oversee $14.5 billion as chief investment officer of Huntington Asset Management in Columbus, Ohio.
Energy stocks are recognizing that, and investors looking to take profits are taking them there.
The International Energy Agency also said high prices could curb oil demand. U.S. crude is up about 16 percent since the start of the year.
Everyone is looking at revenue this quarter since that will show the strength or fragility of the recovery, Bateman said. People were looking for stronger revenue growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 119.28 points, or 0.96 percent, at 12,261.83. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 11.66 points, or 0.88 percent, at 1,312.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 26.51 points, or 0.96 percent, at 2,745.
Analyst Tony Robson of BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc cut his rating on Alcoa's stock to underperform, saying in a note it was mostly on expectations of a weaker aluminum price in the quarters ahead.
The SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF
Japan raised the severity of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident to the highest level on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, putting it on par with the Chernobyl 1986 disaster. Dollar-denominated Nikkei future fell 1.2 percent.
Mining stocks fell as metals prices dipped on worries that Japan's massive earthquake and a nuclear crisis would weaken recovery prospects in the world's third-largest economy.
The S&P Materials Index <.GSPM> fell 1.3 percent while U.S.-traded shares of Rio Tinto
On the upside, Tibco Software Inc
(Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Jan Paschal)