Updated from 2:51 p.m. EDT

In a show of ongoing high volatility, stocks on Wall Street turned sharply downward to close with heavy losses Tuesday, as traders picked through a large, lackluster pile of corporate earnings statements.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 231.77 points, or 2.5%, to 9033.66, and the S&P 500 gave back 30.35 points, or 3.1%, to 955.05. The Nasdaq lost 73.35 points, or 4.1%, at 1696.68.

"Wall Street is up to its eyeballs in earnings reports," said Fred Dickson, director of client research and chief market strategist at DA Davidson. He said investors are trying to figure out whether earnings estimates for the current quarter are too high and how much they may have to be reduced.

Dickson said the market is experiencing a normal pullback from Monday's substantial rally, which was spurred by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's endorsement of an economic stimulus package. Dickson said that from here he expects the market to be range-bound, with the Dow trading between 7500 and 9500.

"We're taking a wait-and-see approach before we say the bear market hit its bottom on Oct. 10," said Dickson.

After the close of Monday's session, credit card firm American Express ( AXP) reported earnings that fell year over year but still beat analysts' expectations. The stock rose 8.4% Tuesday to close at $26.39.

Elsewhere in the financials, business wasn't looking as good. Regional banks Fifth Third ( FITB), National City ( NCC) and KeyCorp ( KEY) all announced losses stemming from bad loans. National City said it plans to cut 4,000 jobs. US Bancorp ( USB) said its income fell from a year ago.

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