NEW YORK CITY, RAW – Major US stock indices have ended lower in rocky trading as investors weighed fast-paced developments around the crisis in Ukraine as the United States banned Russian oil and other energy imports over the invasion.

Losses accelerated into the end of Tuesday’s up-and-down session, a day after steep declines that confirmed the tech-heavy Nasdaq was in a bear market. The benchmark S&P 500 fell for a fourth straight session.

US President Joe Biden announced the ban on Russian oil and other energy imports, underscoring strong bipartisan support for a move that he acknowledged would drive up US energy prices, while Britain said it would phase out imports of Russian oil and oil products by the end of 2022.

“I think it is just investors trying to probe whether it is worth buying the dips and we had a real big one yesterday,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana.

“Any time that the buying seems to get a little out of hand on the upside there seems to be willing sellers coming in.

“To me, it’s a trader’s market and people looking for very short-term momentum shifts to trade.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 184.74 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 32,632.64, the S&P 500 lost 30.39 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 4,170.7 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 35.41 points, or 0.28 per cent, to 12,795.55.

Defensive sectors were the biggest decliners, with consumer staples falling 2.6 per cent, healthcare dropping 2.1 per cent and utilities down 1.6 per cent.

Gains in mega-cap growth stocks, such as Tesla, Meta Platforms and Alphabet, helped mitigate losses for the S&P 500.

The energy sector, a standout performer this year, continued its charge higher, rising 1.4 per cent.

Brent crude topped $US130 a barrel along with other commodities, triggering alarm over surging inflation and the impact on global economic growth. US gasoline prices hit a record on Tuesday.

Stocks have struggled as concerns about the Russia-Ukraine crisis have deepened a sell-off initially fueled by worries over higher bond yields as the Federal Reserve is expected to tighten monetary policy this year to fight inflation.

On Monday, the Nasdaq confirmed it was in a bear market, falling more than 20 per cent from its record high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average confirmed it was in a correction as it closed more than 10 per cent lower from its record peak.

In company news, shares of Caterpillar Inc jumped 6.8 per cent after Jefferies upgraded the construction equipment maker’s stock to “buy” from “hold” as a hedge against inflation and prospects of more investments.