Stocks fell for a third consecutive session on Tuesday as investors remained cautious ahead of a key inflation reading and the start of the third-quarter earnings season later this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 117 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell by 0.24% and 0.14%, respectively.

Here's how the market settled on Tuesday:

S&P 500 Index (SPY  ): -0.24% or -10.54 points to 4,350.65

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA  ): -0.34% or -117.72 points to 34,378.34

Nasdaq Composite Index (QQQ  ): -0.14% or -20.28 points to 14,465.93

U.S job openings fell by greater-than-expected margin in August:

Job openings in the United States fell by a greater-than-expected total in August, but were upwardly revised to a fresh record high for July, underscoring widespread demand across the labor market as the economy still works to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Openings fell to 10.439 million by the end of August, according to the Labor Department's monthly report published Tuesday. In July, job openings were upwardly revised to 11.098 million from the 10.934 million previously posted. Consensus economists were expecting job openings to total 10.954 million in August.

Interestingly, the quits rate in August increased to a record high of 2.9%, suggesting that workers are more confident in their abilities to find new positions, signalling a healthier economy. Meanwhile, the layoffs and discharges rate remained little changed month-over-month at 0.9%; the pre-pandemic average was 1.2% throughout 2019.

IMF cuts global economic growth outlook for 2021:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its outlook for global economic growth in new projects released Tuesday, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as the reason behind slowing recovery.

The IMF now expects for global economic activity to expand at a 5.9% rate this year, down from its 6.0% rate forecasted in July. However, the IMF maintained its outlook for 4.9% growth in 2022.

For the United States, the IMF said it largely agrees with current Federal Reserve assessments that the current global price increases will eventually subside, but highlighted that there is "high uncertainty" surrounding these forecasts.

"While monetary policy can generally look through transitory increases in inflation, central banks should be prepared to act quickly if the risks of rising inflation expectations become more material in this uncharted recovery," Gita Gopinath, the IMF's economic counselor and director of research, said in executive summary accompanying the report.

"Central banks should chart contingent actions, announce clear triggers, and act in line with that communication," she added.

Small business optimism fell by larger-than-expected rate last month:

Small business optimism declined by a more-than-expected rate in September over August, with supply chain disruptions and shortages continuing to weigh on outlooks.

The National Federation of Independent Business's (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index ticked down to 99.1 for September from 100.1 in August, falling lower than the 99.5 expected by consensus economists. Additionally, a record share of 51% of small business owners said they had job openings that they could not fill, according to the survey, marking a third straight month of record highs for this subindex. Meanwhile, 42% of owners said they raised compensations in September, also a record high.

"Small business owners are doing their best to met the needs of customers, but are unable to hire workers or receive the needed supplies and inventories," NFIB Chief Economists Bill Dunkelberg said in a press statement. 'The outlook for economic policy is not encouraging to owners, as lawmakers shift to talks about tax increases and additional regulations."

Here's how market benchmarks started trading soon after opening bell:

S&P 500 Index: +0.25% or +10.81 points to 4,372.00

Dow Jones Industrial Average: +0.23% or +78.98 points to 34,575.05

Nasdaq Composite Index: +0.16% or +29.50 points to 14,508.83