NEW YORK—U.S. stocks finished sharply lower Monday, but far above the session's floor, following a bruising day in global financial markets sparked by mounting worries over the Chinese economy.
The broad-based S&P 500 tumbled 77.68 points (3.94%) to 1,893.21, pushing the index into "correction" territory, normally defined as a loss of 10% or more.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 588.47 (3.58%) to 15,871.28, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 179.79 (3.82%) at 4,526.25.
U.S. stocks were in the red all day after the latest plunge in the Shanghai equity index ignited another round of turmoil in global equity markets. Bourses in England, France and Germany all fell at least 4.5%.
But the main Wall Street indices finished well above their lows for the session. The Dow fell more than 1,000 points, or 6%, after the opening bell, but soon recovered some of those losses. The Nasdaq was down more than 9% at one point.
A short-lived rebound toward break-even territory came after Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, wrote an open letter to CNBC saying the world's most valuable company was still confident in the key Chinese market.
"I can tell you that we have continued to experience strong growth for our business in China through July and August," he said.
Apple shares, which had fallen as much as 12% in early trade, rebounded back to positive territory, but then eased again to close down 2.5% at $103.15, pulling the major indices with them.
U.S. stocks have now dropped five straight days, but analysts warned of more turmoil possibly ahead.
"The only thing that's guaranteed for the next few days is volatility, whether it's to the upside or downside," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.