European stock markets fell Tuesday on a report showing unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro hit 11.8 percent in December, a record high and up from 11.7 percent the previous month.
Major indexes surged last week after U.S. lawmakers passed a bill to avoid a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases that have come to be known as the fiscal cliff. The deal, however, remains incomplete, and trading has been cautious since then. Politicians will face another deadline in two months to agree on more spending cuts.
U.S. stocks closed lower Tuesday, before Alcoa's earnings report was released. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.4 percent to 13,328.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.3 percent to 1,457.15. The Nasdaq composite index shed 0.2 percent to 3,091.81.
Benchmark crude for February delivery was down 15 cents to $93.01 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 4 cents to close at $93.15 per barrel on the Nymex on Tuesday.
In currencies, the euro fell to $1.3074 from $1.3084 Tuesday in New York. The dollar rose to 87.41 yen from 87.19 yen.