A rally on Wall Street evaporated on Tuesday and stocks ended with deep losses as concerns about China's economy outweighed lower valuations that some earlier saw as bargains.
In a dramatic session, major indices turned negative in the final minutes of trading after previously climbing almost 3 percent.
Investors cited more worries that a slowdown in China could hobble global growth, even after the country's central bank cut interest rates on Tuesday for the second time in two months. The move came after Chinese stocks slumped 8 percent on Tuesday, on top of an 8.5 percent drop on Monday.
"People are still nervous about overseas and what might happen tonight. Nobody wants to sit around and see what happens," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.
Tuesday's drop followed steeper losses on Monday, when the Dow Jones industrial average slid more than 1,000 points at its lows and the benchmark S&P 500 recorded its worst day since 2011.
In the past week, the S&P has lost 11 percent.
The Dow has fallen 10.5 pct over the last five sessions, marking its biggest five-day fall since August 2011.