Tuesday stocks fell as volatile trading on Wall Street continued after markets went swinging from steep losses to gains.
European stocks were higher after a day of steep losses in Asia. Markets are waiting to hear from U.S. Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell after a two-day policy meeting.
Other factors adding to uncertainty are the possibility of conflict between Russia and Ukraine and concern over coronavirus outbreaks. Japan has expanded the number of areas observing special precautions to slow the spread of infections as the omicron variant of coronavirus surges.
On Monday, a late buying spree pushed the benchmark S&P 500 index to a 0.3% gain after pulling it out of so-called correction territory. It was a drop of 10% or more from its recent high.
U.S. stocks changed rapidly as fears of inflation persisted. Investors fearing a tightening by the Fed saw stocks trying to claw "their way back from a massive Monday liquidation," as Edward Moya, senior market analyst of the Americas at Oanda told CNN Business.
The swings are coming as traders try to assess how a stubborn resurgence of inflation will affect the economy and how well the Federal Reserve will succeed in fighting it by pulling back its stimulus policies and raising interest rates.