U.S. stocks declined sharply Tuesday, more than wiping out the prior day's gains, with traders citing uncertainty about the tension between Russia and Ukraine and concerns that the strengthening economy will lead to higher interest rates.
Stocks sold off rapidly, with the Dow dropping as much as 199 points, following media reports on comments by Polish officials on the crisis.
"The report today that Russian troops were lining on the borders of Ukraine preparing for an invasion -- whether accurate or not, I don't know, but it was not helpful," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
"Selling begets selling when certain technical levels are breached," said Luschini, who listed the S&P 500 breaking below Monday's intraday low of 1,921.20 as among the drivers of the accelerated losses.
The CBOE volatility Index, a measure of investor uncertainty, spiked almost 12 percent to 16.87.
"This is a decline in search of an explanation; there is the rumor of an impending Ukrainian invasion. The other is gee, now we have good economic news and it's too strong and they are going to start raising rates. Longer term, very few things have changed," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank.
"Market reports continue to pit lingering concerns over the potential for an early rise in interest rates as a primary driver of negative sentiment. If that's the case, investors now have additional headline risk to fret about as concerns over patients suffering from Ebola virus surface," Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers, wrote in an afternoon email.
Target slid after the discount retailer cut its second-quarter profit outlook; Halliburton and Chesapeake Energy were among the energy companies falling along with energy costs, and Coach gained after the luxury retailer tallied better-than-expected quarterly revenue.