NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 recovered from session lows, though was still down from record highs, as the price of crude oil stabilized after days of volatility.
The S&P 500 fell 0.39%, 11 points from its intraday high, the Dow dropped 0.29% and the Nasdaq slid 0.52%.
Crude oil prices recovered from session lows on Tuesday with West Texas Intermediate crude 0.28% higher at $53.76 a barrel. A day earlier, the commodity had briefly moved higher as fires wiped out three oil-storage tanks at Libya's central export terminal, giving hope of a solution to global oversupply.
"Despite the drop in oil prices, producers, particularly U.S. shale focused companies, continue to try to maintain output due to debt service and other cash flow needs," said James Abate, CIO of Centre Funds, in an email.
European markets moved lower, continuing to be pressured by Greece's failed parliamentary election a day earlier. Greece will now head to a general election to vote for a president in January. International investors are nervous that the left-wing Syriza party could win, putting the country's austerity plans in jeopardy.
France's CAC 40, Germany's DAX and London's FTSE 100 were each trading lower, while the Athens Stock Exchange was down 0.38%.
In domestic economic news, home prices across 20 metropolitan areas increased 4.5% in October, down from a 4.8% increase in September, but better than a forecast 4.4% gain.
"The [Federal Reserve] remains concerned regarding the sluggish nature of the US housing market, a sector that will continue to deter Committee members from raising rates in the near term," said Sterne Agee chief economist Lindsey Piegza.
Consumer confidence came in just below economists' expectations at 92.6 in December versus an estimated 93. That reading improved upon November's 88.7 as lower gasoline prices continue to pad out consumers' savings.
Akamai Technologies (AKAM) was up 0.69% after D.A. Davidson analysts increased their price target on the basis the company can realize better operating leverage.
GoPro (GPRO) shares added nearly 1% as Pacific Crest Big-Box checks indicated strong holiday demand for the durable camera maker. Analysts raised their full-year profit estimates to $1.05 a share from $1.01.
Oil company Civeo Corp (CVEO) was plunging after reporting first-quarter guidance well below consensus due to plunging oil prices. The company also suspended its quarterly dividend.
Biotherapeutic drug maker Xenoport (XNPT) spiked 7.2% after RBC Capital analyst Michael Yee named the company an "under the radar" pick for the year ahead.
Commercial REIT American Realty Capital Properties (ARCP) jumped more than 7% as activist investor Keith Meister's Corvex Management disclosed a 7.1% stake in the company. The investment firm said the company is currently undergoing a "time of transition" that presents a unique opportunity.
BTIG analysts downgraded Procter & Gamble (PG) stock to "neutral," noting that organic growth has been below its peers since 2007. Shares fell slightly.
-- Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.