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Stocks Slip as Crude Oil Falls, Energy Slumps

Stocks moved modestly lower by midday Tuesday as crude oil prices slumped for a second straight day and pushed the energy sector lower.

The S&P 500 was down 0.37%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.09%, and the Nasdaq slid 0.16%.

Crude oil prices extended losses on Tuesday after closing at their lowest level since late August a day earlier. Worse-than-expected data including a drop in consumer confidence and weak durable goods added to already-present fears over global oversupply and soft demand. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 2.3% to $42.95 a barrel.

Energy stocks were the worst performers on markets. Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) , Chevron (CVX - Get Report) , ConocoPhillips (COP - Get Report) , Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A - Get Report) , Total (TOT - Get Report) , and PetroChina (PTR) moved lower, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) fell 1.6%.

Consumer confidence weakened in October after reaching its second-highest level of the year a month earlier. Optimism over present conditions in the economy declined, particularly in the labor market. The Conference Board reported a drop to 97.6 in October, down from a downwardly revised reading of 102.6 in September. Economists had expected the measure to drop to 102.1.

"It seems as though the slowing in payroll employment gains has begun to hit consumer confidence a bit and offsetting the pop in equities and lower energy prices in the month," said BNP...