US STOCKS-Wall St falls on weak Chinese data, oil price decline
* Oil prices hit fresh post 2009 lows, before paring some losses
* Data shows China's imports fell for 13th consecutive month
* Indexes down: Dow 0.86 pct, S&P 0.62 pct, Nasdaq 0.04 pct (Updates to late afternoon, adds commentary, changes byline)
By Sinead Carew
Dec 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were down in a choppy trading session on Tuesday as oil prices pressured energy materials stocks for a fifth day and weak Chinese trade data reignited some fears of a global economic slowdown.
Crude prices hovered near their 7-year lows after U.S. crude dipped below $37 per barrel and Brent fell below $40 for the first time since early 2009.
This was after data released overnight showed China's imports fell for the 13th consecutive month, with an 8.7 percent decline in November compared with a year earlier.
"That didn't help matters and oil continuing to drop is weighing on the energy sector as well as sectors that are exposed to energy such as industrials and materials," said Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group LLC, a research firm in Harrison, New York. "There's a lack of a positive catalyst right now."
Oil major Exxon, down 2 percent, was the biggest drag on the S&P. The S&P energy sector was down 0.95 percent, on track to close down for the fifth straight day. The sector has lost more than 9.8 percent since Dec. 1. Continuación...