Volatility surged in the U.S. equity market as the Dow Jones Industrial Average erased both a 282-point rally and a 143-point decline, then slipped again in the final minutes to close lower.

U.S. stocks swung between gains and losses as oil prices fluctuated near the lowest level in five years, while copper plunged. The Standard & Poor™s 500 Index dropped 0.3 percent to 2,023 at 4 p.m. in New York, after an earlier gain of 1.4 percent and then a decline of 1 percent. The index had fallen 1.6 percent over two days.

The Dow average lost 26.78 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,614.06.

The S&P 500 moved 48 points from peak to trough today, the biggest intraday swing since Oct. 15, when the benchmark gauge erased nearly all of a 3 percent decline.

The index declined 0.8 percent yesterday as the continuing selloff in crude pulled down energy shares. It has dropped 3.3 percent since a record in December as oil prices fell to the lowest since April 2009.

Oil rose 0.8 percent in electronic trading as of 3:50 p.m. in New York, after falling 0.4 percent during regular trading.

Source: Bloomberg