Entering the last hour of trading, stocks were trading higher asd optimism grew about talks to contain the European debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 160 points. or 1 percent. Earlier in the trading day, the index was down 112 points.
The Associated Press reported on one reason for the turn around:
The leaders of Greece, France and Germany conferred by teleconference to seek ways of avoiding a default by Greece. European stock indexes rose as investors hoped the talks would be productive. Germany's DAX rose 3.4 percent and France's CAC-40 1.9 percent.
The Greek government was expected to issue a statement on the talks later Wednesday about the talks. The threat of a default and the damage it could wreak on financial markets has had investors on edge for weeks.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index and the Nasdaq composite were both up.