Stocks closed lower for their third day in a row on Tuesday as Europe's fiscal woes and a weak start to tech earnings gave investors little reason to buy following equities' worst day in a month.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 58.88 points, or 0.47 percent, to end unofficially at 12,446.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> slipped 5.85 points, or 0.44 percent, to finish unofficially at 1,313.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 20.71 points, or 0.74 percent, to close unofficially at 2,781.91.

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Jan Paschal)