Investors dumped risky assets Wednesday in heavy trading and parked their money in investments seen as relatively safe, such as U.S. government bonds.
The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted as much as 460 points in afternoon trading, then clawed back much of the ground it lost. It ended down 173 points, or 1.1 per cent, at 16,141.
The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 15 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 1,862. The Nasdaq fell 11 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 4,215.
A late-afternoon recovery erased much of the losses. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are now slightly higher for the year.
Bond prices soared. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.15 per cent.