Energy stocks were posting losses in late-afternoon trading Tuesday, helping drag the broader market modestly lower and erasing the small gains the market made a day earlier. Disappointing results or outlooks from retailers and other companies also weighed on the market. Utilities and consumer goods companies were up slightly.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 6 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,578 as of 3:19 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 33 points, or 0.1 percent, to 23,406. The Nasdaq composite slid 19 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,737. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 3 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,471.
THE QUOTE: "We're through earnings season, which was pretty good, with earnings up about 10 percent," said Stuart Freeman, co-head of global equity strategy for Wells Fargo Investment Institute. "Now investors are waiting and watching to see what shape this tax reduction bill is going to take."
The House is expected to vote on its version of the legislation this week. Expectations that the tax overhaul will sharply lower corporate taxes have helped lift the market higher this year.
ENERGY SLUMP: A steep drop in crude oil prices weighed on energy sector stocks. Range Resources lost $1.10, or 5.9 percent, to $17.48, while Newfield Exploration fell $1.93, or 6 percent, to $30.16.
Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.06, or 1.9 percent, to settle at $55.70 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the biggest single-day decline since October. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 95 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $61.21 a barrel in London.
"There's this perception that there's a lot of supply waiting in the wings and as prices have moved higher that's made the marginal producer want to come out and just find more oil," said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer of U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
NOT A GOOD LOOK: TJX Cos., the parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, fell 4.6 percent after reporting revenue and earnings that missed analysts' estimates. Its shares lost $3.24 to $67.52.
FOUL OUTLOOK: Dick's Sporting Goods slid 4.2 percent after the retailer reported a solid quarter but also said its earnings per share could drop as much as 20 percent next year. The stock gave up $1.10 to $25.21.
GEEZ, GE: General Electric slumped 5.5 percent as analysts downgraded the industrial conglomerate a day after it pulled back on profit expectations and slashed its dividend in half. The stock was down $1.05 to $17.97. It's now down more than 43 percent this year.
TAKING FLIGHT: Buffalo Wild Wings soared 24.3 percent on a report that Roark Capital has offered to buy the restaurant chain for $150 a share, or $2.3 billion. Buffalo Wild Wings shares added $28.50 to $145.75.
REVVED UP: Advance Auto Parts vaulted 18 percent after the company's latest quarterly earnings exceeded Wall Street's expectations. The stock was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, climbing $14.80 to $97.08.
BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.38 percent from 2.41 percent late Monday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 113.40 yen from 113.57 yen on Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1794 from $1.1667.
OIL & GAS: Wholesale gasoline gave up 3 cents to $1.76 a gallon. Heating oil fell 3 cents to $1.91 a gallon. Natural gas slid 7 cents to $3.10 per 1,000 cubic feet.
METALS: Gold rose $4 to $1,282.90 an ounce. Silver added 3 cents to $17.07 an ounce. Copper fell 5 cents to $3.07 a pound.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX fell 0.3 percent, while France's CAC 40 shed 0.5 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was little changed. Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index finished flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.1 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.9 percent. South Korea's Kospi edged down 0.2 percent. Shares in Taiwan and Southeast Asia were mostly higher.