Away from stocks, the front-month September crude contract sank for a second session. Oil dropped $1.33 to $73.56 a barrel. Gasoline prices were lower by 5 cents at $2.05 a gallon.
"Because oil prices were down so much today, a lot of oil stocks were under pressure," said Mendelsohn. "There is no sector to pick up the slack today. Unless something causes the financial sector to bottom, I don't see any other sector big enough to pick up the slack and carry this market."
With the economic docket vacant, Treasury prices were little changed. The 10-year note tacked on 2/32 in price, yielding 4.95%, and the 30-year bond was flat, yielding 5.06%.
Overseas, stocks rose in Asia and declined in Europe. Tokyo's Nikkei added 0.2%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.5%. London's FTSE shed 1.9%, and Frankfurt's DAX was off 1.7%.Following Tuesday's close, Amazon.com (AMZN) and homebuilder Centex (CTX) will post quarterly results. The earnings torrent will continue before the next open, when such names as Boeing (BA), ConocoPhillips (COP), Corning (GLW), and WellPoint (WLP) are due to report.