This story was updated at 4:05 p.m. ET.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) fell 365 points Wednesday, continuing a rocky start for 2016. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index (INDEXSP:.INX) also tumbled, closing the day down 2.5 percent, plunging the stock index deeper into correction territory from its early December peak.
The tech-rich Nasdaq composite closed the day with an even bigger loss, down 160 points, or 3.4 percent.
Wednesday's tumble comes after a lull Tuesday that saw the S&P 500 end the day up 0.8 percent. Futures early Tuesday were trading positively on better-than-expected trade news out of China. But those gains were erased when U.S. data showed oil inventories growing amid a worsening global glut.
Crude oil was trading at $30.67 late Wednesday after a late rally, 25 cents up from Tuesday's close. Earlier, Brent crude fell below $30 a barrel, one day after U.S. oil prices breached that level.
Stocks have come under intense pressure since the beginning of 2016 as investors remain skittish in the face of the sliding price of oil and fears about growth in China, the world’s second-largest economy.
The consumer-discretionary sector fell close to 3 percent for the day, with steep declines in 2015 standouts Netflix and Amazon, which slid 8.6 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively. The S&P transportation index, which is vulnerable to energy price moves, fell 3.8 percent.
Investors have greeted 2016 with trepidation, concerned over global growth expectations and inflated stock prices. Some market watchers have turned sharply pessimistic. Societe Generale analyst Albert Edwards predicted Wednesday that the S&P 500 would fall 75 percent as the bull cycle came to an end.
"That obviously will be a catastrophe for the economy via the wealth effect and all the Fed's QE hard work will turn (to) dust," Alberts wrote.