The Dow Jones industrial average was down four points at 13,549 after the first half-hour of trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell three points to 1,458 and the Nasdaq composite lost four points to 3,174.
FedEx's assessment of the global economy carries a lot of weight with investors because its package delivery business spans across so many corners of the world. On Tuesday the company said the worldwide economy was in a "stall." It also said it's seeing recession-like conditions.
FedEx reduced its fiscal-year profit forecast sharply because its customers were using its express air delivery service less in favor of slower and cheaper ground service. FedEx's stock fell $1.50 to $87.78.
Markets had rallied sharply last week after the Federal Reserve announced aggressive measures intended to kick-start the economy. This week, investors have been more focused on the weak growth that caused the Fed to act in the first place.
Also on Tuesday, the Commerce Department reported that the current account deficit dropped 12.1 percent in the second quarter. That's down from a record high in the January-through-March quarter. The deficit shrank because of an increase in American exports and cheaper oil. But economists are predicting it will grow again because of the global slowdown.
Oil prices fell 48 cents to $96.13 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil had hit $100 per barrel in recent days but dropped $4 per barrel in late trading Monday. The drop looked like a trading glitch at first, but with prices continuing lower on Tuesday it began to look more like a legitimate sell-off as concerns about the lethargic economy persisted.
Stocks fell in Europe, too. The CAC-40 in France was down 0.9 percent, the FTSE-100 in Britain fell a half-percent, and the DAX in German was down 0.7 percent.