Stocks drift mostly lower amid drop in energy stocks, oil

Another slide in crude oil prices weighed on U.S. stocks Tuesday, steering the broader market on course for a lower close. Energy stocks were among the biggest decliners. Technology companies bucked the trend. Investors also had their eye on corporate earnings, which are just starting to trickle out.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 57 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,341 as of 2:16 p.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid seven points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,916. The Nasdaq composite fell 14 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,623. The Nasdaq, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, has fallen for the past eight trading days.

THE QUOTE: “You’re seeing very oversold conditions,” said Phil Blancato, CEO of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management. “People here are basically buying the dip.”

ROUGH START: Deepening fears about a protracted slowdown in China’s economy coupled with worries about Beijing’s ability to manage its financial markets have kept investors on edge after sharp losses last week. A steep downturn in crude oil prices has also weighed on the market. The three major U.S. stock indexes are all down for the year. The Dow and S&P 500 index are off about 6 percent, while the Nasdaq is down 7.5 percent.

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ENERGY: A day after slumping 5.3 percent, the price of U.S. crude oil slipped another $1.04, or 3.2 percent, to $30.36 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell $1, or 3.1 percent, to $30.90 a barrel in London.

SECTOR VIEW: Eight of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index moved lower, with energy stocks down the most, 1.9 percent. Technology stocks notched the biggest gain.

OIL DRAG: Energy and mining companies were trading lower as oil prices continued to decline. Freeport-McMoRan lost 47 cents, or 11 percent, to $3.84. Consol Energy shed 46 cents, or 6.6 percent, to $6.54. Chesapeake Energy fell 29 cents, or 7.1 percent, to $3.88.

SOUNDS BAD: Skullcandy plunged 33.8 percent after the headphones maker slashed its 2015 sales projections and said holiday sales were worse than it expected. The stock lost $1.54 to $3.01.

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NOT GOOD ENOUGH: Alcoa sank 9.7 percent after the aluminum manufacturer’s latest quarterly results included revenue that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The stock dropped 78 cents to $7.23.

GAME OVER: GameStop tumbled 5.3 percent after investors were disappointed with the video game store operator’s holiday season sales. The stock lost $1.57 to $27.81.

HEALTHY GAINS: Health insurance companies were among the biggest gainers in the S&P 500 index. Anthem rose $5.74, or 4.5 percent, to $134.10, while Aetna added $2.38, or 2.3 percent, to $107.45.

HOLIDAY BOOST: Lululemon Athletica rose 3.9 percent after the athletic clothing retailer raised its earnings guidance citing strong holiday season sales. The stock rose $2.13 to $56.86.

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OVERSEAS: European markets moved higher. Germany’s DAX was up 1.6 percent, while the CAC-40 in France rose 1.5 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 1 percent. In Asia, China’s Shanghai composite closed 0.2 percent higher, recovering some of its losses from the day before. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 2.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.9 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.2 percent.

METALS: Gold fell $11 to $1,085.20 an ounce, while silver fell 12 cents to $13.75 an ounce. Copper slipped 1 cent to $1.96 a pound.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.09 percent from 2.17 percent late Monday. The euro rose to $1.0873 from $1.0871 a day earlier and the dollar fell to 117.41 yen from 117.53 yen.