U.S. stock indexes fell sharply as fears of over possible interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve roiled financial markets around the globe.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 332 points, or 1.9 percent, to 17,662 Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 35 points, or 1.7 percent, to 2,044. The Nasdaq composite lost 82 points, or 1.7 percent, to 4,859.

The prospect of higher U.S. rates helped send the euro sharply lower against the dollar. The euro fell to its lowest level in 12 years.

Bond yields for several European countries hit record lows after the European Central Bank started its bond-buying program.

Barnes & Noble plunged 10 percent after reporting earnings that fell far short of analysts' forecasts.

Oil fell $1.71 to $48.29 a barrel in New York.