The Dow Jones closed 13 points - 0.08 per cent - lower, at 16,014 points, while the S&P 500 finished just over one point lower, at 1,852. The Nasdaq, which includes many of the US' largest tech stocks, fell 0.32 per cent.
That was after European stocks spent the day falling - after a brief rally in early afternoon trading, the FTSE 100 finished exactly one per cent lower, at 5,632.19 points.
Markets were driven lower by renewed fear over oil prices, which tanked during today's trading. As the equities markets closed in New York, Brent crude at $30.83, closer to the psychologically important $30 mark than it has been for days. WTI crude, the US benchmark, was at $28.38.
"New York’s equity futures seem to be driving European markets since Asia, with China shut, is only firing off three cylinders," said David Buik, market commentator at Panmure Gordon.
"Neurotic is not a strong enough adjective to describe traders’ mood. Hysterical may be too strong – perhaps somewhere in between."