What goes up must come down. That was the mantra for Wall Street on Tuesday, as big gains achieved Monday were swiftly erased.
Stocks fell to session lows in the final hour. The S&P 500 was down 1.3%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.1%, and the Nasdaq slid 1.5%. Benchmark indexes had surged more than 1% on Monday.
Likewise, crude oil gave back the majority of its gains from the previous day, as commodity traders grew impatient over negotiations among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
"In order for oil prices to experience a sustained lift, traders will likely want to see indications that Saudi Arabia and other key actors are prepared to consider actual production cuts, rather than merely freezing production at levels that already outpace global demand," said Robbie Fraser, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric.
In a speech earlier Tuesday, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi dismissed the possibility of production cuts, instead arguing that by maintaining output, the market will rebalance over time as demand improves. Negotiations over a production freeze started last week as oil producers grapple with a global surplus. WTI crude fell 4.6% to $31.87 a barrel after jumping 6% a day earlier.
The energy sector was the worst performer in U.S. markets Tuesday. Major oilers Exxon Mobil (XOM) , PetroChina (PTR) , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) , Chevron (CVX) and Total (TOT) were lower, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) fell 2.8%.
BHP Billiton (BHP) fell more than 5% after cutting its dividend for the first time in 15 years as profits declined. The mining giant had said that action would be unlikely six months ago, though a continued rough commodities environment had made it necessary. The company said it had suffered a $5.67 billion loss in the first half of its fiscal year.