U.S. stocks closed down on Wednesday but recovered significantly from historic intraday losses amid concerns about Europe, Ebola and the economy.
The Russell 2000 and transports turned positive as stocks came off lows in the last half hour before the close. S&P 400 midcaps also traded higher, and the Nasdaq traded briefly in the green.
"The Russell 2000 led the selloff and is actually the first to find the bottom here," Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, said.
He also attributed the late-session gains to stabilization in oil prices and high trade volume during the middle of the day.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil futures shaved gains to settle down 6 cents at $81.78 a barrel—nearly a 4-year low—with gold shaving gains to settle $10.50 higher at $1,242 an ounce.
Stocks lost nearly 3 percent during the day but recovered in the close. Despite ending the day positive, small- and mid-cap stocks remained in correction territory.
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In a cumulative move of about 1200 points in losses and gains, the Dow came off session lows of a 458-point drop to below 16,000, a level it has not breached since February 14. The drop was the index's largest intraday loss since a 552-point decline on Sept. 22, 2011. The Dow has had triple-digit moves for about 78 percent of the last 23 trading sessions.
The S&P 500 recovered losses to close down just 15.2 points, or 0.81 percent, at 1,862.49, with financials knocked the hardest and materials and energy the only sectors of 10 gaining.
The Nasdaq dipped into correction territory and even turned positive before closing down 11.8 percent, at 0.28 percent, at 4,215.32.
The U.S. dollar edged lower against major world currencies.