Stocks fell on Tuesday, although a late day rally lifted share prices off of their worst levels of the session.
The move lower comes as volatility has picked up in the U.S. stock market after a torrid rally to start 2013. A series of mediocre economic reports and uncertainty over the future course of Federal Reserve policy has caused investors to re-assess risk levels in recent days.
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Although the market's upward trajectory appears to still be intact, bouts of profit taking could make for choppy trading in coming weeks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 77 points, or 0.50 percent, to 15,177.
The S&P 500 lost 9 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 1,631.
The Nasdaq shed 20 points, or 0.58 percent, to 3,445.
Energy prices were mixed on Tuesday. Near the close of equities, NYMEX crude futures had lost 0.10 percent to $93.36. Brent crude contracts were last trading up more than 1 percent to $103.17. Natural gas futures rose 0.18 percent and were last trading at $4.00.
Precious metals followed stocks lower on the session. COMEX gold futures fell 1 percent to $1,397.70. Silver futures were last down around 1.50 percent to $22.39. Copper climbed a little less than 1 percent on Tuesday.
In the grain complex, corn fell while wheat was close to the unchanged mark. Heading into the closing bell, corn futures were down 1.25 percent while wheat was trading up 0.04 percent. Movers in soft commodities included cocoa, which rose 1.65 percent, and cotton, which was up 2.67 percent.
Bond prices fell on Tuesday along with the stock market. At last check, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) was down 0.67 percent to $114.04. Falling prices pushed yields higher.
At last check, the 2-Year Note was yielding 0.29 percent and the 5-Year Note yield was 1.04 percent. The 10-Year Note was at 2.14 percent on Tuesday while the 30-Year Bond yield was 3.30 percent.
The U.S. dollar was slightly higher on the day. Near the close of equities, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, was up 0.09 percent to $22.47.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last up 0.05 percent to $1.3081. The USD/JPY was last trading up 0.63 percent while the USD/CAD jumped 0.70 percent. The AUD/USD plunged 1.24 percent on the session.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX inched up as stocks fell on Tuesday. Late in the day, the widely watched barometer of market fear was up 0.80 percent to 16.41.
Volume remained above average on the session as traders and investors have become more active in recent days. Around 136 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares traded hands on the session compared to a 3-month daily average of 125 million.
ExactTarget (NYSE:ET) shares jumped more than 52 percent on Tuesday after the company agreed to be acquired by Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) for $2.34 billion. Salesforce fell almost 8 percent on the news.
G-III Apparel (NASDAQ:GIII) was trading up 21 percent near the close after the company reported a surprise first-quarter profit.
Morgans Hotel Group (NASDAQ:MHGC) climbed 13 percent after the company said it would explore strategic alternatives upon the election of its board of directors.
Monster Beverage (NASDAQ:MNST) rose better than 10 percent near the close after the company provided a positive sales update at its annual shareholder meeting.
Shares of Dollar General (NYSE:DG) fell around 8 percent on Tuesday after the company released its fiscal first-quarter earnings results.
Rigel Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RIGL) had lost more than 18 percent late on Tuesday after AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) said it will record a $140 million impairment charge in the second quarter after late-stage trials for arthritis treatment fostamatinib did not meet expectations. Rights to the compound will be returned to Rigel, prompting the steep decline in the stock.
U.S. Silica Holdings (NYSE:SLCA) fell around 7 percent after GGC USS Holdings LLC said it would sell 10 million shares in the company to reduce its stake.
Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG) fell more than 5 percent after the California Public Employees' Retirement System said it plans to offer 11.1 million units in the private equity firm, exiting its 2001 investment.
Shares of Ubiquiti Networks (NASDAQ:UBNT) lost more than 8 percent on Tuesday. There was no significant news to account for the move in the stock.
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