U.S. stocks closed more than 1 percent lower Wednesday, weighed by declines in oil prices and failing to extend a rally in global markets despite talk of stimulus overseas. ( Tweet This )
"Again, after a really, really strong day yesterday and a gap up in the opening, we sold off," said Peter Coleman, head trader at Convergex. He noted pressure from weakness in oil and other commodities.
"This is the volatility that we're going to be in for the next few weeks between the Fed and China," he said. But "I don't think we'll go back and retest the lows from two weeks ago."
Selling accelerated leading into the close. In early afternoon trade, stocks turned lower to give up an opening rally of about 1 percent.
"I think the reversal has to do with the oil prices," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. "Of course, the Apple event didn't move the stock much."
Apple closed nearly 2 percent lower, after initially spiking more than 1.5 percent amid its afternoon event, at which the company unveiled new products.
"Investors are clearly not impressed with the Apple event (Wednesday), mostly because nothing too unexpected came of it," said John Divine, analyst and assistant editor at InvestorPlace.com. "We all knew the next iteration of the iPhone wascoming, but the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus didn't blow anyone away."
U.S. crude oil futures settled down $1.79, or 3.9 percent, at $44.15 a barrel. Brent also fell more than 3 percent to trade below $48 a barrel.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down about 240 points, or 1.45 percent, after falling as much as 272.58 points in the minutes before the close. 3M, Home Depot, IBM and Apple had the greatest negative impact on the index.
Earlier, the Dow gained as much as 171.97 points in a failed attempt to join the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite out of correction territory, less than 10 percent away from their 52-week highs. The Russell 2000 also briefly held out of correction mode.
"I think at the end of the day, while there's still hope triumphing here that China is going to do more, nothing definitive has been done, no certainty it's going to work," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
"I think we're seeing a little of that cooling enthusiasm for equities. The news is good. China recognizes its economic activity is slowing and is preparing to address it," he said.
The Nasdaq composite held mild gains for 2015 after reaching positive territory for the year Tuesday.
"At the end of the day, (there's) so much nervousness ahead of next week's meeting people are afraid of holding (positions)," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.