Stocks are falling sharply and oil prices are spiking as investors worry about increasingly violent protests in Libya.
Oil prices rose 7 percent to $96 a barrel Tuesday after the uprising threatened the country's oil production. Libya is the world's 18th largest oil producer. It also sits atop the largest oil reserves in Africa.
Many traders are worried that the unrest will spread to other oil-rich countries in the region, or lead to higher gas prices for consumers.
At the opening, the Dow Jones industrial average is down 109 points, or 0.9 percent, at 12,282.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 17, or 1.3 percent, at 1,326. The Nasdaq composite index is down 50, or 1.8 percent, at 2,783.