U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Tuesday, a day after the market’s biggest rout since October, as investors fretted the implications of crude’s failure to find a floor.”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 percent and just above $ 48 a barrel.

“Equities are starting the year in a wait-and-see mode, held hostage by oil,” Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said. “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,” he added. AOL (AOL) rallied after Bloomberg cited people familiar with the matter in reporting Verizon Communications had approached the search engine about a potential deal or joint venture.

Read More Early Movers: AOL, COH, CSX, FDX, ORCL & more The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index declined to 56.2 last month from 59.3 in November. Separate data had factor orders down in November. Erasing a 79-point gain, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow Jones Global Indexes: .DJI) dropped as much as 158 points, and was lately off 141.90 points, or 0.8 percent, at 17,359.75, with JPMorgan Chase (JPM) pacing losses that included 22 of 30 components.The S&P 500 (^GSPC) shed 11.82 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,008.76, with energy and industrials hardest hit among its main sectors. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) declined 43.25 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,609.35.For every two shares rising, more than three fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where 239 million shares traded as of 11:20 a.m. Eastern. Composite volume neared 1.3 billion.

The U.S. dollar (Exchange:.DXY) climbed against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners and the 10-year Treasury (U.S.:US10Y) yield fell 8 basis points to 1.9515 percent. Oil futures (: @00DR15G) for February delivery dipped $ 1.84, or 3.7 percent, to $ 48.20 a barrel; gold futures (CEC:Commodities Exchange Centre: @GC15G) rose $ 6.10, or 0.5 percent, to $ 1,210.10 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On Monday, U.S. stocks fell sharply, with the S&P 500 extending losses into a fourth session, as energy companies took it on the chin as the price of oil fell to its lowest since April 2009.

Read More US stocks slide with crude to end at two-week lows Coming Up This Week: Tuesday 10 a.m.: ISM nonmanufacturing for December 10 a.m.: Factory orders for November Wednesday 8:15 a.m.: ADP employment for December 8:30 a.m.: Trade deficit for November 2 p.m.: FOMC minutes Thursday 8:30 a.m.: Weekly jobless claims 3 p.m.: Consumer credit for November Friday 8:30 a.m.: Nonfarm payrolls for December 8:30 a.m.: Unemployment rate 10 a.m.: Wholesale inventories for November More From CNBC.com: Money transfer company shares sink on massive fraud SpaceX aborts launch, but rockets have fans talking Manhattan apartment prices hit record high