Wall Street stocks tumbled for a second straight session on Tuesday as worries about the chaos in the oil market overshadowed progress in Washington on additional relief for small businesses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down more than 631.56 points (2.67 per cent) at 23,018.88. The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 86.60 points (3.07 per cent) to 2,736.56, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 297.50 points (3.48 per cent) to 8,263.23.
A day after its historic slide into negative territory amid a supply glut, US oil futures finished in positive territory. But the market remained under heavy pressure due to a supply glut as petroleum demand sinks due to coronavirus shutdowns.
Besides the shocking and historic turmoil in the oil market, stocks have also been pressured by uncertainty over the coronavirus and when the US caseload will begin to decline, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.
A third factor has been a steady stream of announcements by major companies that have withdrawn their profit forecasts due to the unknown timeframe for ending lockdowns.
It's a manifestation of the reminder that we've got a tsunami of bad news in front of us, Hogan said.
In the latest bit of poor economic news, sales of existing homes dropped 8.5% in March, the biggest single month decline in more than five years, as lockdown measures crimped activity.
Stocks did not get a boost from a deal between US lawmakers and the White House on a US$480 billion emergency package that replenishes a depleted program to help small businesses devastated by the coronavirus crisis.
The agreement marks Washington's latest massive cash injection to prop up the teetering economy amid struggles to contain a pandemic that has killed 43,000 Americans and left more than 22 million jobless.