Alcoa is due to kick off the third quarter earnings season tonight, and analysts expectations are that US companies reported a two to three percent fall in profits over the quarter.
Also weighing on sentiment was Europe’s debt crisis. EU finance ministers met last night, with investors still in the dark on whether Spain will formally request a bailout.
The uncertainty saw most of the major indices close in the red, with the Dow snapping a three session winning streak, closing 26 points (-0.2%) lower at 13584.
The S&P500 (-0.3%) and Nasdaq (-0.8%) joined in the losses, whilst in Europe, the German DAX (-1.4%) and French CAC (-1.5%) suffered even heavier declines.
Commodities were caught up in the selling, with gold, copper and oil hit by a World Bank report that lowered the growth forecast for East Asia.
The risk off trade saw the greenback strengthen against a number of other currencies, whilst the Aussie dollar recovered from a three month low and is now buying 102 US cents.
Elsewhere, the euro slipped against the yen as EU finance ministers try to thrash out an agreement over a potential bailout for Spain. In economic news, the NAB Business Confidence Survey is due to be released at 10:30am, AEDT.