* Indexes volatile after dropping 2 pct at session start
* S&P 500, Dow on Monday tallied biggest drops since Aug 2011
* Defensive sectors lag, consumer discretionary higher (Updates with early afternoon trading)
By Lewis Krauskopf
Feb 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rebounded in volatile afternoon trading on Tuesday, with major indexes up more than 1 percent following the biggest one-day drops for the S&P 500 and the Dow in more than six years.
Stocks swung from negative to positive after indexes started the session 2 percent lower, underscoring a return of volatility to a market that until recently was marked by an absence of major shifts. The Dow had a more than 930-point difference between its high and low on Tuesday.
The sharp declines in recent days marked a pullback that had been long-awaited by investors after the market minted record high after record high in a relatively calm ascent.
"It’s been a crazy period and today the market is probably just trying to find some footing," said John Lynch, chief investment strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 459.21 points, or 1.89 percent, to 24,804.96, the S&P 500 gained 39.5 points, or 1.49 percent, to 2,688.44 and the Nasdaq Composite added 122.65 points, or 1.76 percent, to 7,090.18.
Technology and consumer discretionary were among the top-performing sectors. Defensive sectors including utilities and real estate lagged.
Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli