U.S. stock markets closed little changed on Tuesday as renewed declines in oil prices slashed off early gains.
Stocks climbed at the beginning of the session on news from China. The country's GDP growth slowed down to 6.8% in the fourth quarter from 6.9% in the third quarter in line with expectations. The growth pace was the slowest in 25 years and it raised expectations for authorities to take further steps to stimulate the economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 27.94 points, or 0.2% higher, at 16,016.02. The S&P 500 added 1 point, or less than 0.1%, to 1,881.33 (its energy sector lost 2.2% on Tuesday and over 10.7% since the beginning of 2016). The Nasdaq Composite lost 11.47 points, or 0.3%, to 4,476.95.
This morning in Asia Hong Kong Hang Seng dropped 3.54%, or 694.38, to 18,941.43. China Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.45%, or 43.57, to 2,964.17. The Nikkei plunged 3.31%, or 563.53, to 16,484.84.
Asian stock indices fell driven by plunging oil prices. Meanwhile the yen, which serves as a safe-haven asset, gained and weighed on stocks of Japanese exporters.
Japanese Economic and fiscal policy minister Akira Amari said on Tuesday that declines in oil prices and stocks are correlated: lower oil prices generate tension in oil producing countries and make investors sell assets, including stocks of Japanese companies.