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NEW YORK: European and US equity markets mostly fell Tuesday, with the Nasdaq slumping on valuation concerns after US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said interest rates could rise.

Yellen, in a pre-recorded conversation with The Atlantic, said US lending rates may have to increase "somewhat" to keep a lid on inflation if President Joe Biden's latest spending proposals are enacted and the economy heats up.

The remarks added to pressure on stocks, especially the tech-rich Nasdaq, which has prospered during the pandemic due to the Federal Reserve's policy of near-zero interest rates.

Investors have been fretting for weeks about the risk of higher inflation and a sudden shift in Federal Reserve policy.

After her comments set off a mini-firestorm and sent stock prices tumbling, Yellen later clarified that she was not predicting nor suggesting the Fed should raise rates.

Still, the Nasdaq finished down nearly two percent.

Earlier, major European indices all ended the day lower, with Frankfurt tumbling 2.5 percent as all stocks on the DAX 30 saw losses, the greatest of which were among industrial and tech companies.