Deepening political turmoil in Egypt sent the price of crude oil higher. Otherwise trading was mostly quiet ahead of the July 4th holiday.
The stock market rose in the morning as traders responded to good news about car sales, home prices and manufacturing. Indexes started falling in the early afternoon.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42 points, or 0.3 per cent, to close at 14,932 Tuesday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell less than a point to 1,614. The Nasdaq composite fell a point to 3,433.
U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for Independence Day.
Volume was lower than average at 3.2 billion shares. Three stocks fell for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.