NEW YORK, July 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks fell for a second consecutive day Tuesday, as investors locked in gains awaiting second-quarter earnings results from aluminum giant Alcoa.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 117.59 points, or 0.69 percent, to 16,906.62. The S&P 500 fell 13.94 points, or 0.70 percent, to 1,963.71. The Nasdaq Composite Index dived 60.07 points, or 1.35 percent, to 4,391.46.
On the previous trading session, Wall Street pulled back, as investors took a breather after the blue-chip index settled above the 17,000 mark for the first time last week, boosted by stronger- than-expected U.S. nonfarm payroll report.
After the record run, investors were hesitant about making big moves on stocks before getting more comfort from the new corporate earnings season.
Shortly after the closing bell, Alcoa, the largest U.S. aluminum producer, released its quarterly earnings to unofficial start of the new earnings season. Both of its earnings and revenues in the second quarter of 2014 beat market consensus.
According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, so far roughly 4 percent of the S&P 500 companies, or the 22 companies, have reported results in the second quarter, of which 63.6 percent beat analyst expectations on earnings while 68.2 percent surpassed market consensus on revenues.
On the economic front, the U.S. small business optimism index dropped 1.6 points to 95.0 in June, snapping a three-month run of increases, said the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday. The fresh data trailed market expectations.
Moreover, U.S. consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 7. 4 percent in May, slower than a revised gain of 10 percent in prior month, according to the Federal Reserve.
Investors are also expecting the minutes of the U.S. central bank's latest policy meeting due out Wednesday afternoon.
The CBOE Volatility Index, often referred to as Wall Street's fear gauge, surged 5.74 percent to end at 11.98 on Tuesday.
In other markets, crude prices continued the downward trend Tuesday as investors are less concerned that crude production in Iraq will be disrupted. Light, sweet crude for August delivery declined 13 cents to settle at 103.40 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange were little changed Tuesday, with the most active gold contract for August delivery down 0.5 dollar, or 0.04 percent, to settle at 1,316.5 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar dropped slightly against most major currencies Tuesday as investors awaited Fed's minutes of its latest policy meeting. In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3612 dollars from 1.3607 dollars in the previous session. The dollar bought 101. 54 Japanese yen, lower than 101.86 yen of the previous session.