Despite their best efforts, US stocks followed the rest of the world's stock markets lower.
The Dow Jones finished the day 1.6 per cent lower, at 15,660 points, while the S&P 500 finished 1.23 per cent lower, at 1,829 points. And while the Nasdaq had a late rally, jumping into the green for a few minutes towards the end of the day, it, too, finished in the red, 0.1 per cent lower, at 3,962 points.
Banks, in particular, were clobbered, with most of the country's major lenders posting significant falls. JP Morgan Chase fell 4.1 per cent, while Goldman Sachs fell four per cent and Bank of America fell 6.9 per cent. Meanwhile, Citigroup finished 6.4 per cent lower and Wells Fargo fell 2.2 per cent.
The falls followed comments by Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen at suggesting market turmoil posed a risk to global financial growth.
When Yellen appeared before congress today, she added the Fed hadn't ruled out negative interest rates.
"We're taking a look at them again, because we would want to be prepared in the event that we needed to add accommodation," she said.
"Yellen's initial acknowledgement at the start of her two-day testimony that global financial market conditions have become 'less supportive of growth' was quickly supplanted by a continued reiteration that the Fed expects to continue normalising monetary policy at a gradual rate," said analysts at Interactive Data
"The chairwoman [said] most recently that while there is always the possibility of recession, 'evidence suggests that expansions don't die of old age'."