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When is oil going to hit bottom? That's the worry plaguing investors, who handed stocks their fifth consecutive day of losses Tuesday, after the index shed 331 points on Monday.

"Oil hasn't found a bottom yet, and that's a concern for investors," said Paul Nolte, senior vice president, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management. Crude prices fell further, with U.S. oil down 4.2 percent to close at below $48 a barrel.

"Lower gasoline costs are a boost for consumers, bolstering discretionary spending and income levels. On the negative side, it's a headwind for companies within and around the energy patch," Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said.

Erasing a 79-point gain, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped as much as 239 points, and closed at 17,371.64, down 130.01 points, or 0.7 percent. After dipping beneath 2,000 for the first time since Dec. 17, the S&P 500 shed 17.97 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,002.61. The Nasdaq declined 59.84 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,592.74.


-- Kate Gibson, CNBC and NBC News Staff