Despite the big swings, Tuesday's trading looked similar to the patterns that have shaped the market for the past year: investors bought retailers like Amazon and Home Depot and technology and industrial companies and banks, which do better when economic growth is strong. Higher bond yields also make stocks look less attractive by comparison.
For the average person investing for retirement, daily market moves don't matter much.
The negative close on Wednesday and the wild session on Tuesday began after indexes were put under pressure on the back of a rise in the 10-year Treasury yield sparked renewed concerns which triggered the sell-off.
The Dow's free fall Monday, which erased its gains for the year, caused a rift in global trading Tuesday - with the Stoxx Europe 600 dipping 2.2 percent and markets in Japan and Hong Kong falling about 5 percent. The Nasdaq composite rose 91 points, or 1.3 percent, to 7,058. It was the busiest day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange since November 10, 2016, two days after the presidential election.
Gains in industrial and consumer discretionary stocks led advances on the S&P as well as the Dow.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index, a broader market barometer that many index funds track, was down 6 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,641.
With the latest drops, both the Dow and the broader S&P 500 are down more than 10 percent from their peaks on January 26, which constitutes a market correction.
Emerging market stocks lost 0.32 percent. The correction has led to significant fear among investors that the world could be nearing the end of the nine-year bull run in stocks. Perhaps it lulled you into saving more and investing more - just in time for the market to stumble a bit.
The Reserve Bank of Australia, the country's central bank, said it would leave cash rates (the interest rate that banks pay to borrow) unchanged at 1.5 percent, citing household consumption as a "continuous source of uncertainty". On Friday, it was revealed that U.S. wages were growing at the fastest pace in more than 8 and a half years, which has led to worries that heightening inflation will lead to the Fed Reserve raising interest rates faster than expected.
The VIX on Tuesday hit a more than two-and-a-half year high above 50, after trading, on average, below 20 for months.