Wall Street lower on falling oil prices

US markets drifted into negative territory in early trading as crude oil prices continued to weaken due an unexpected increase in US fuel inventories and slowing Chinese demand.

Sentiment remains heavy on global equities, amid concerns for economic growth along with an abundance of ongoing political issues.

Shortly after the open, the Dow was down 57.49 points at 20,032.8, the broader-based S&P 500 eased 6.42 points to 2,286.66, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 20.11 points to 5,654.11.

Financials were prominent to the downside, with JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, American Express and Visa all losing ground. Meanwhile, retailers Home Depot and Wal-Mart made early positive headway in addition to Disney, Verizon and Nike.

At 2:55pm (GMT), WTI crude was lower at $51.82/bbl as was Brent at $54.85/bbl. However, gold was on the up and recently trading around $1,243/oz.

Elsewhere, Asian markets were mostly higher overnight, while European markets were on the back foot in afternoon trading.