NEW YORK, New York - Uncertainty about the future and a spike in energy prices due to concerns over depleting reserves of oil and liquid gas kept buyers away from U.S. markets Tuesday.
With quarterly earnings reports coming due, investors are also weighing how the Covid-19 Delta variant has impacted the economic performance of companies.
"Given all of the difficulties that companies are having to deal with, there is more of a chance for more negative surprises this quarter than there were in the previous quarters," Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta told Reuters news agency Tuesday.
"We have had a good run here (year-to-date) so you can get continued back and forth across the markets, a lot of it is going to be this push and pull between inflation expectations, and potentially the dampening of growth."
At the close on Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrials had lost 117.72 points or 0.34 percent to close at 34,378.34.
The Nasdaq Composite fell 20.28 points or 0.14 percent to 14,465.92.
The Standard and Poor's 500 gave up 10.54 points or 0.24 percent to finish at 4,350.65.
The U.S. dollar was stronger against most currencies but failed to make ground against the commodity bloc. The Australian dollar in fact pushed ahead, finishing just ahead of the New York close at 0.7355.
The euro dropped to 1.531. The British pound slid to 1.3592. The Japanese yen weakened to 113.61. The Swiss franc eased to 0.9307.
The Canadian dollar was unchanged at 1.2463. The New Zealand dollar fell a tad to 0.6934.
On overseas equity markets, the CAC 40 in Paris, France slipped 0.34 percent. The Dax in Germany was also off 0.34 percent, while in London, in the UK, the FTSE 100 dipped 0.23 percent.
On Asian markets, in Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 267.59 points or 0.94 percent to 28,230.61.
The Australian All Ordinaries fell 25.50 points or 0.34 percent to 7,575.60.
The Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 362.50 points or 1.43 percent to 24,962.59.
China's Shanghai Composite was off 44.77 points or 1.25 percent at 3,546.94.