U.S. stocks failed to stay afloat by midday on Tuesday as shares of companies in the oil and gas and aerospace and defense sectors dropped sharply.
The main benchmarks were mostly flat during pre-market as traders anticipated the start of the Federal Open Market Committee's two-day policy meeting.
While most major European markets were closed for the May Day holiday, stocks closed mostly higher in Britain as the White House's postponement of a tariff decision helped investor sentiment.
In economic news, data are expected to show motor vehicle sales easing to 17.2 million annualized rate in April vs March's 17.5 million, according to data compiled by Econoday.
The PMI manufacturing index came in as expected at 56.5 in April vs a prior reading of 55.6.
The ISM manufacturing index came in at 57.3 in April vs expectations for 58.6 and previous month's reading of 59.3.
Construction spending posted a surprise 1.7% decline for the month of March vs estimates for a 0.5% gain and previous month's 1% increase.
Crude oil is down 1.27% to $67.69 per barrel. Natural gas is up 1.92% to $2.817 per 1 million BTU. Gold is down 1.02% to $1,305.80 per ounce, while silver is down 0.73% to $16.11 an ounce. Copper is down 1.24% to $303.60 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund is down 0.94% to $13.67, with the United States Natural Gas Fund is up 1.64% $22.93. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF is flat to $22.74, while SPDR Gold Shares is down 0.63% to $123.80. The iShares Silver Trust is down 1.24% to $15.19.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index is down 0.71% to 12,426.11
Dow Jones Industrial Index is down 1.18% to $23,879.90
S&P 500 is down 0.65% to $2,630.97
Nasdaq Composite Index is down 0.08% to 7,060.83
FTSE 100 is up 0.15% to 7,520.36
DAX market closed for holiday
CAC 40 market closed for holiday
Nikkei 225 up 1.74%
Hang Seng Index market closed for holiday
Shanghai China Composite Index market closed for holiday
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index is down 0.93% to 11,767.25
NYSE Financial Sector Index is down 0.64% to 7,944.92
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index is down 0.36% to 14,147.57
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