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Stocks Extend Losses as Attention Turns to Earnings

S&P 500, Dow Jones, Nasdaq edged lower on Tuesday.

The Dow and broader U.S. stock market continued lower on Tuesday, as investors continued to monitor quarterly earnings reports.

Wall Street’s major indices traded lower at the close, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) falling 256.33 points, or 0.8%, to 33,821.30. The benchmark index closed at record highs on Friday.

The broad S&P 500 Index (SPY) of large-cap stocks declined 0.7% to close at 4,134.94. Seven of 11 primary sectors reported losses, with energy leading the declines. Financials and discretionary stocks also fell sharply.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ) tumbled 0.9% to settle at 13,786.27.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX (VXX) continued higher on Tuesday.  The so-called “investor fear index” reached an intraday high of 19.70 on a scale of 1-100, where 20 represents the historical average. It would eventually settle up 8.3% at 18.73.

In commodities, oil prices backtracked on Tuesday, with U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures falling 94 cents, or 1.5%, to $62.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the international futures contract, fell 55 cents, or 0.8%, to $66.50 a barrel.

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In precious metals, gold prices rebounded on Tuesday, as the June futures contract advanced $7.40, or 0.4%, to $1,778.00 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver futures edged up 1 cent, or 0.03%, to $28.85.

The Final Word: Investors continue to monitor a highly active first-quarter earnings season. So far, 81% of S&P 500 companies have reported better than expected earnings results.