[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks closed modestly lower on Tuesday as worries about sliding crude oil prices overshadowed a strong unofficial start to earnings season by Alcoa.
As the market closed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 27.03 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 17,613.81.
The broad-based S&P 500 fell 5.26 (0.26 per cent) to 2,023.00, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index edged down 3.21 (0.07 per cent) to 4,661.20.
Stocks had surged higher in early trade, but fell into negative territory in the afternoon as traders watched crude oil close at the lowest levels in nearly six years.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for February fell 18 cents to settle at US$45.89 (S$61.20) a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, its lowest close since March 11, 2009.
In London, Brent crude for February delivery, the international benchmark futures contract, finished at US$46.59 a barrel, down 84 cents.
"The continued selling pressure in the commodity complex has weighed on the overall risk sentiment," said Briefing.com analysts in a market note.