U.S. markets dropped Tuesday as a definitive new pattern has set in on Wall Street with confidence giving way to a new sense of uncertainty.
The new pattern is based on uncertainty about how long the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue with an $85 billion per month asset purchasing program. Fed officials have signaled recently that they could pull back on that policy soon.
There are similar doubts about an economic stimulus strategy in Japan orchestrated by the Bank of Japan.
"I don't think the BOJ is ready to follow through with any new policy statements, but I wouldn't be surprised if we get a look at their balance sheet and see that it expanded further, and perhaps at a fairly aggressive rate," Waddell Reed Financial Chief Executive Officer Hank Herrmann said.
In equities, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 116.57 points or 0.76 percent to 15,122.02.
The Standard & Poor's 500 shed 16.68 points, or 1.02 percent, to 1,626.13.
The Nasdaq composite dropped 36.82 points or 1.06 percent, to 3,436.95.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 420 issues advanced and 2,696 declined on total volume of 3.4 billion shares.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index shed 1.45 percent, 13,317.62. In Britain, the FTSE 100 lost 0.94 percent or 60.37 points, to 6,340.08.
The 10-year treasury note rose 7/32 to yield 2.189 percent.
Crude oil prices closed at $94.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, giving up 78 cents. Gold lost $8.90 to reach $1,377.10 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
On currency markets, the euro rose to $1.331 Tuesday from Monday's closing mark of $1.3257. Against the yen, the dollar was lower at 96 yen from 98.74 yen.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn for July delivery added 9 cents at $6.59 per bushel, while soybeans added 8 cents to close at $13.27 and wheat gained 6 cents to finish at $6.95 3/4.