NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stock futures were setting up for another trading session in the red as markets continued falling in lockstep with crude oil prices.
S&P 500 futures were 0.48% lower, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 0.62%, and Nasdaq futures slid 0.67%. On Monday, the S&P 500 moved below 2,000 for the first time since Oct. 30.
U.S. housing starts for November slipped 1.6% to 1.03 million compared to an upwardly revised 1.7% increase in October. Economists had expected 1.04 million housing starts over the month.
Crude oil continued its downward spiral on Tuesday with West Texas Intermediate plunging 3.2% to $54.10, a fresh five-year low.
"The main problem is that oil has not yet found a level where it can stabilize," said Wells Fargo chief international strategist Paul Christopher in a call. Prices skidded on Monday after key OPEC members recommitted to leaving production levels unchanged despite global oversupply.
China, the world's biggest oil importer, showed more economic weakness on Tuesday after the flash HSBC purchasing managers' index fell to 49.5, contracting for the first time in seven months.
The Shanghai Composite spiked 2.3% with investors feeling confident the latest reading could push the government to further ease monetary policy. A day earlier, China's central bank said its economy could slow to 7.1% next year compared to a forecast 7.4% this year, a result of its flagging property sector.
The Russian ruble slid for a seventh day even after Russia's central bank enacted an emergency interest rate hike to 17% from 10.5%. That move came after the currency crumbled more than 10% against the greenback on Monday, its worst intraday fall since the Russian financial crisis of 1998.
General Motors (GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report fell 1.4% after RBC downgraded the stock to "sector perform" from "outperform" as analysts adopted a more cautious outlook on the automaker industry.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.