In a two-day stretch without a significant economic report to divert anyone's attention, investors were contemplating DuPont's July through September results, the latest in a string of blue-chip firms that came in under expectations.
By close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average gave up 243.53 points, 1.82 percent, to 13,102.53. The Nasdaq composite index shed 26.49 points or 0.88 percent to 2,990.46. The Standard and Poor's 500 index dropped 20.71 points or 1.44 percent to 1,413.11.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 825 stocks advanced and 2,222 declined on a volume of 3.5 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note rose 15/32 to yield 1.764 percent.
The euro fell to $1.2983 from Monday's $1.3061. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 79.86 yen from 79.96 yen.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index added 0.04 percent, 3.54 points, to 9,014.25.
In London, the FTSE 100 index lost 1.44 percent, 85 points, to 5,797.91.