* Oil prices hit fresh post 2009 lows
* Exxon, Chevron fall more than 3 percent
* Chipotle drops as students fall ill after eating at its chain
* Indexes down: Dow 1.01 pct, S&P 0.82 pct, Nasdaq 0.70 pct (Updates to open)
By Tanya Agrawal
Dec 8 (Reuters) - Wall Street opened lower on Tuesday as shares of energy companies and miners were dragged down by a continued slide in oil prices and fears of a global economic slowdown on weak Chinese trade data.
U.S. crude fell below $37 per barrel for the first time since early 2009 amid fears the world was running out of capacity to store crude as a global glut intensifies.
Oil majors Exxon and Chevron were down more than 3 percent, while miner Freeport McMoRan fell 3.6 percent. Exxon was the biggest drag on the S&P and was the second-biggest drag on the Dow.
“The fall in oil prices suggests weak demand globally and has worried investors as they put together their outlook for the coming year,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
At 9:46 a.m. ET (1446 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 179.28 points, or 1.01 percent, at 17,551.23, the S&P 500 was down 17.03 points, or 0.82 percent, at 2,060.04 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 35.52 points, or 0.7 percent, at 5,066.29.
All 10 major S&P sectors were lower with the energy index’s 3.29 percent fall leading the decliners. The materials index was also down 1.61 percent.
Data showed China’s imports fell for the 13th consecutive month, with an 8.7 percent decline in November compared with a year earlier.
Investors are awaiting the U.S. Federal Reserve’s meeting on Dec. 15-16, when the central bank is expected to raise interest rates for the first time since June 2006.
“The Fed is still leaning heavily towards a rate hike but it’s not a done deal as yet,” Brown said, adding that the central bank will reintroduce uncertainties if it fails to raise rates next week.
Federal funds futures contracts imply an 80 percent chance that the Fed will end seven years of near-zero interest rates.
U.S. stocks fell on Monday, led by the S&P energy index’s biggest one-day percentage drop since late August.
Chipotle Mexican Grill shares fell 4.1 percent to $529.21 after 30 Boston College students fell ill after eating at the company’s restaurant over the weekend.
Fairchild Semiconductor was up 5.7 percent at $20.65 after the chipmaker said it received an unsolicited proposal to buy the company for about $2.46 billion.
United Natural Foods slumped 14.3 percent to $37.99 after the natural and organic food distributor posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 2,277 to 486. On the Nasdaq, 1,681 issues fell and 673 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed no new 52-week highs and 29 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 5 new highs and 119 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Anil D‘Silva)