NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 accelerated losses by mid-morning Tuesday as energy shares dragged down Wall Street. Sector heavyweights Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) fell 1.2% and 0.96%, respectively, after Saudi Arabia cut sales prices to the United States a day earlier.
Prices for West Texas Intermediate slumped 2.6% to $76.73 a barrel and Brent crude slid 2.57% to $82.60 a barrel after Saudi imports for December delivery were slashed 45 cents from a month earlier. The Energy Select Sector SPDR exchange-traded fund (XLE) tumbled 2.5%.
Watch the video below for a closer look at how U.S. markets are starting the trading day Tuesday:
"We've been seeing some technical stop loss selling because the price has reached new lows," Jefferies analyst Christopher Bellew told CNBC.
The trade deficit for September widened to $43 billion compared to the expected $40.7 billion, while exports hit a five-month low. A month earlier, the trade deficit totaled a revised $40 billion.
The S&P 500 slid 0.51%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.19% and the Nasdaq slipped 0.32%.
European shares were falling after the European Commission tempered its expectations for eurozone growth through 2016 on continued deflation concerns and unemployment woes. The body cut its forecast for growth next year to 1.1% from 1.7% with significantly lowered estimates for the region's two largest economies, Germany and France.
France's CAC 40 slid 0.5%, London's FTSE 100 was down 0.05%, and Germany's DAX fell 0.04%.
U.S. citizens head to the polls Tuesday for the mid-term elections, the results of which could set the stage for the 2016 presidential elections. The results will also determine whether Republicans can take hold of the Senate.
Should Republicans win, Raymond James' Jeffrey D. Saut wrote in a note: "The equity markets [could] rally into an upside blow-off move. That would fit nicely with the typical 'buying stampede' that is now at session 14 in the typical 17-to-25 session progression."
Alibaba (BABA) , the Chinese e-commerce giant, posted revenue in the July-September quarter that was 53.9% higher year over year to $2.74 billion, while net income of 45 cents a share came in as expected.
Shares were up 2%, remaining around 45% higher than their initial public offering price in September, valuing the company more than Wal-Mart (WMT) at more than $246 billion.
Sprint (S) was tumbling nearly 20% after reporting its 11th consecutive quarter of subscriber losses. The telecom also said it would cut 6.5% of its 31,000-strong work force.
Priceline (PCLN) shares were down more than 8% after offering fourth-quarter guidance of $9.40 to $10.10 a share compared to analysts' estimates of at least $10.91.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.