U.S. stocks added losses Tuesday, with the S&P 500 falling for two consecutive days from its record high set last week, as investors pondered a pair of mixed economic data and uncertainties over Ukraine.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 67.43 points, or 0.41 percent, to 16,351.25. The S&P 500 ticked down 9.54 points, or 0. 51 percent, to 1,867.63. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 27.26 points, or 0.63 percent, to 4,307.19.
Wall Street rewrote record book repeatedly last week, boosted by stronger-than-expected U.S. nonfarm payroll report for February and easing tensions in Ukraine.
However, the market sentiment has been dampened a little bit in the first two days of the week by growing concerns over China's economy spurred by unexpectedly weak trade data in February in the world's second largest economy as well as lingering worries over Ukraine.
The parliament of the autonomous republic of Crimea on Tuesday adopted a declaration of independence from Ukraine, which specifies that Crimea will become independent if around 2 million residents vote in favor of joining Russia in a referendum due on March 16.
The Nasdaq logged a four-day losing streak, underperforming the other two indices.
The economic data from the United States came out mixed in the day, providing no clear direction for Wall Street.
U.S. small business optimism continued its winter hibernation in February, with the latest index dropping 2.7 points to 91.4, a reading that historically has been associated with recessions and periods of sub-par growth, said the National Federation of Independent Business Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday that wholesale inventories rose 0.6 percent in January from the prior month, beating economists' expectations. But wholesale sales decreased 1.9 percent in January, the biggest drop since March 2009.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, added 4.32 percent to end at 14.80.
In other markets, the U.S. dollar retreated against most major currencies on Tuesday and it fell against the yen after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) kept monetary policy unchanged.
The BOJ maintained its monetary stimulus after a two-day monetary policy meeting and kept its view that economic growth and consumer price increases remain on track. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said there was no need to shift monetary policy for now.
In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3871 dollars from 1.3869 dollars in the previous session. The greenback bought 102. 90 Japanese yen, lower than 103.20 yen of the previous session.
U.S. oil price continued to drop as trader expected that a government report due out Wednesday will show U.S. crude stockpiles increased last week.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery moved down 1.09 dollars to settle at 100.03 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for April delivery gained 47 cents to close at 108.55 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rose for the second consecutive session Tuesday.
The most active gold contract for April delivery rose 5.2 dollars, or 0.39 percent, to settle at 1,346.7 dollars per ounce. .