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US: Stocks retreat from records as oil shares fall

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks declined early Tuesday, retreating from records as petroleum-linked shares were hit by a sharp decline in oil prices.

Dow members Chevron, Halliburton and Apache were down more than one percent as worries about excess petroleum supply weighed on oil prices.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan was scheduled to deliver a speech later Tuesday on tax reform, a topic that contributed to driving stock prices higher in recent months.

However, analysts have become more skeptical that a major tax bill will win approval in 2017 as President Donald Trump has faced scrutiny over various controversies, including an investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 US elections.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 21,516.86, down 0.1 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 lost 0.2 per cent to 2,447.49, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.1 per cent to 6,231.49.

The Dow and S&P 500 closed at records on Monday, driven by gains in technology and finance shares.

Bucking the early trend, Dow member McDonald's rose 1.1 per cent following an upgrade by Cowen & Company.

Homebuilder Lennar shot up 4.7 per cent as it offered an optimistic outlook based on an improving macroeconomic environment, even while earnings in the first quarter fell 9.2 per cent to US$130.8 million.