A midafternoon rally in U.S. stocks faded as encouragement from Federal Reserve minutes proved fleeting, and investors refocused on China and the global economy.
At the end of the day on Wall Street, The Dow Jones industrial average lost 162.6 points, nearly 1 percent, to 17,348.7. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 17.3 points, about 0.8 percent, to 2,079.6. The Nasdaq composite slid 40.3 points, about 0.8 percent, to 5,019.1.
As markets closed, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil was down $2.06 at $40.16 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Stocks briefly trimmed losses just after 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time as minutes from the Federal Reserve Open Market committee showed policymakers have judged that conditions for higher interest rates haven't been met.
The information reduced speculation the central bank will raise rates at its next meeting, but China's shock devaluation continued to roil emerging-market assets and threatened to slow global growth.
Caterpillar Inc. and Freeport-McMoRan Inc. paced declines as raw-material and industrial shares slumped more than 0.7 percent as a group. Energy shares tumbled the most this month as an unexpected increase in U.S. crude stockpiles sent oil prices deeper into a bear market.
"No matter what, you're going to get a knee-jerk reaction," said analyst Steve Bombardiere, an equity trader at Conifer Securities LLC in Manhattan, who was reached by phone. "Trading is so thin it's easy to push things around, but there is some nervousness now with commodities getting weaker and China seeming like it's losing a little control."