Falling oil prices, China's economic slowdown, and a pessimistic outlook for the overall global economy this year sparked another selloff of stocks on global markets.
It was a wild day for traders in U.S. Wednesday, as major indexes fell more than three percent at one point, before recovering significantly by the close.
Experts blame the volatility on plunging oil prices, China's economic slowdown, and a pessimistic outlook for the overall global economy this year. The price of oil dropped below $27 a barrel, which hurt the stock prices of energy companies that are important parts of some stock indexes.
At the end of trading the S&P 500 was off 1.2 percent, while the Dow fell about 1.6 percent.
Earlier, stocks in Germany fell 2.8 percent while key indexes in France and Britain dropped nearly 3.5 percent.
Tokyo's Nikkei index fell nearly 4 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 3.5 percent and South Korea's Kospi lost 2.3 percent. China's Shanghai index fell 1.3 percent Wednesday.
A third worry came when prices for U.S. oil fell below $28 a barrel, the lowest mark in 12 years, after the International Energy Agency issued a report warning that global oil markets could "drown in oversupply" as demand plunges.