The Russell 2000 gained 13.43 points, or 0.8 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 16.94 points, or 0.07 percent, to 25,566.81.
The Dow is up 46.65 points, or 0.2 percent.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 4.08 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,686.80.
Markets in Europe were also turbulent with Germany's DAX falling two percent, French CAC 40 falling nearly two percent, and Britain's FTSE 100 declining 0.8 percent. Occidental Petroleum OXY.N fell 4.2 percent after it maintained a tepid production forecast for the year.
Trump Calls Omarosa 'A Lowlife' After N-Word Claim Surfaces
Along with her "race war" comments Omarosa said, laughing, that "oh yeah, there's some people gettin' it on in the white house". When Manigault Newman questioned him about bucking the inauguration tradition, Trump allegedly responded with "Yeah".
Energy weighs on the S&P 500 on Thursday.
"Today's impact has set the markets in a temporary risk-off sentiment", said Matt Forester, chief investment officer of BNY Mellon's Lockwood Advisors.
Rite Aid RAD.N fell 11.5 percent after the drug store chain and USA grocer Albertsons Cos ABS.N agreed to terminate their merger agreement.
Shares in trade-sensitive companies fell.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.80-to-1 ratio on the NYSE.
Oil prices were down slightly as the escalating China-U.S. trade dispute cast doubt on the outlook for crude demand. Excluding the energy sector, the earnings growth estimate declines to 20.4 percent, according to Thomson Reuters.