WASHINGTON - U.S. markets stumbled in the final hour of trade Tuesday after two days of steady gain.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average turned negative half an hour before closing down 26.13 points to 22,653.86, and the S&P 500 fell 4.27 points to 2,659.41. The Nasdaq Composite Index was off 25 to 7,887.
In early U.S. trading, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were more than 3% higher, while the Nasdaq composite was up more than 2.5%.
The rally faded after the price of U.S. oil went from a gain in price to a loss of more than 9%. A price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia along with the global slowdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic have made oil prices especially volatile.
President Donald Trump had expressed hope last week that the two oil giants could come to an agreement and cut production. Investors it appears are doubtful.
Global markets showed cautious optimism for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as China reopened Wuhan, the city where the COVID-19 pandemic originated and Spain and Italy, two of Europe's hot spots reported steady decline in death tolls.
Earlier Tuesday Asian markets resumed gains with Japan's benchmark Nikkei index earning 2% at the closing bell. Japan on Tuesday announced a $1 trillion stimulus for the world's third largest economy.
Europe's stock markets joined Asia and US with higher numbers on Tuesday.
The FTSE 250, considered to be representative of the British economy, finished up 2.2%, and CAC 40 in Paris gained more than 2%, and the DAX in Frankfurt is up nearly 3%.
Despite gains on Monday and Tuesday, the FTSE 100 is still down by 25% compared with its highest level in January.
Australia's S&P/ASX was down nearly one-half of 1% at the closing bell.