The main US equity gauges ended the session on a mixed footing as a drop in oil futures
pulled the rug out from under the sector's quoted companies.
Traders continued to be on edge given the possibility that OPEC, the cartel of oil producing nations, might not decide on a reduction of its production levels when it meets on 27 November. That could see further sharp losses ensue in world oil prices.
Analysts such as those at Morgan Stanley do however believe that some sort of action, even if only to slow the drop in prices, is the most likely outcome of the summit. As always, the key player, Saudi Arabia, is playing its cards close to its chest.
The run-up to Thanksgiving often seems subdued trading conditions, given the absence of many market operators.
Nonetheless, analysts seemed to strike a somewhat sombre note following the release of several weaker than expected reports on the state of the economy.
Mixed economic data
According to figures released by the Commerce Department gross domestic product (GDP) rose by an annualised 3.9% in the three months to the end of September, revised up from the initial estimate of 3.5%. GDP has now grown by an average of 4.2% in the last six months, the strongest two-quarter stretch since the middle of 2003.
However, the conference board's consumer confidence index for November surprised to the downside, printing at 88.7 for November, after the prior month's 94.1 (consensus: 97).
The FHFA's house price index was flat on the month to September (consensus: 0.3%).
"Business expectations about the year ahead are running at the lowest seen since 2009. Hiring and investment intentions have also slipped to post-recession lows as US companies worry in particular about the global economic climate," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.
"With central banks in the Eurozone and Japan taking further action to boost economic growth, worries about the global economic outlook are perhaps overly gloomy."
Oil stocks drag
From a sector standpoint oil related stocks were easily the underdog in Tuesday's session, surrendering 2.58% after a group of key oil producing countries and Russia's state-owned oil company failed to reach an agreement ahead of Thursday's OPEC summit in Vienna.
Much commented, at one point in the session Apple's market capitalisation surpassed the $700bn mark.
Tiffany & Co rose despite missing third-quarter profit estimates.
Shares in Signet Jewelers gained after the company reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates, as did those of Nuance Communications after the maker of speech-recognition software reported fourth-quarter earnings that charged ahead of market forecasts.
Crude nears four-year lows
fell against the pound, the euro and the yen, while gold futures advanced slightly to $1.196.90.
The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note fell five basis points to 2.26%, while the yield on the 30-year note was off by six basis points to 2.96% and the yield on the five-year Treasuries declined three basis points to 1.57%.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures plumbed near four-year lows, dropping 2.6% to trade at $73.82 by the 'closing bell'.
S&P 500 - Risers
Pall Corp. (PLL) $98.00 +3.50%
Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) $56.62 +2.92%
Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) $19.71 +2.82%
Becton, Dickinson & Company (BDX) $134.73 +2.76%
United Technologies Corp. (UTX) $111.71 +2.68%
United States Steel Corp. (X) $35.84 +2.66%
Pitney Bowes Inc. (PBI) $25.28 +2.64%
Tiffany & Co. (TIF) $107.60 +2.47%
Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) $149.59 +2.29%
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc Class A (FOXA) $36.56 +2.27%
S&P 500 - Fallers
Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL) $51.32 -5.19%
Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR) $15.60 -4.88%
Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) $56.94 -4.51%
FMC Technologies Inc. (FTI) $53.35 -3.84%
Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) $95.20 -3.30%
Halliburton Co. (HAL) $48.26 -3.25%
Apache Corp. (APA) $73.38 -3.21%
Cimarex Energy Co (XEC) $118.27 -2.89%
Eog Resources Inc. (EOG) $96.74 -2.83%
Hess Corp. (HES) $82.31 -2.79%
Dow Jones I.A - Risers
United Technologies Corp. (UTX) $111.71 +2.68%
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $91.65 +1.18%
Visa Inc. (V) $257.26 +1.04%
Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $97.90 +1.03%
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $27.28 +0.92%
Pfizer Inc. (PFE) $30.47 +0.83%
Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) $88.80 +0.78%
American Express Co. (AXP) $91.40 +0.40%
Coca-Cola Co. (KO) $44.43 +0.36%
AT&T Inc. (T) $34.82 +0.35%
Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
Home Depot Inc. (HD) $97.01 -1.41%
Chevron Corp. (CVX) $116.15 -1.22%
3M Co. (MMM) $158.06 -1.14%
JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) $60.30 -1.08%
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) $94.78 -0.98%
Nike Inc. (NKE) $97.29 -0.67%
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DD) $71.68 -0.65%
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) $188.86 -0.64%
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) $84.95 -0.53%
General Electric Co. (GE) $26.86 -0.52%