Stocks ended down, after trading in a narrow range throughout much of the session Tuesday, as investors took a breather from a three-day rally amid rising oil prices and ongoing turmoil in Libya and the Middle East.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 17.90 points, or 0.15 percent, to close at 12,018.63 after trading within a 50-point range all session, and following Monday's rally. The blue-chip index had risen 3.6 percent over the previous three sessions, after falling 4.3 percent from its Feb. 18, 2011 high.
Among Dow components, Bank of America and General Electric fell, while Verizon and American Express gained.
The S&P 500 fell 4.61 points or 0.36 percent, to close at 1,293.77, while the Nasdaq fell 8.22 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 2,683.87.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell near 20.
Among the S&P 500's key sectors, industrials and consumer discretionary fell, while telecom and utilities gained.
Investors appeared to be taking a pause Tuesday after three consecutive sessions of strong gains reversed a good portion of the losses sustained in the wake of the multiple disasters in Japan.Page 1 of 6 | Next Page