U.S. stocks plunge further, Dow drops 830 points

Investors see many of these countries as being vulnerable to higher US interest rates, which can pull away investment dollars.

Technology and internet-based companies are known for their high profit margins, and many have reported explosive growth in recent years, with corresponding gains in their stock prices. Stocks continue to retreat on Wednesday, with 10 of the 11 sectors in the red and bond yields continuing to march higher.

It sets up the Australian sharemarket for steep losses to open the session, with futures at 7:35am AEDT pointing to a fall of 109 points, or 1.8 per cent, at the open. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 37 points, or 2.3 per cent, to 1,584. "This meltdown isn't just a mild case of the sniffles suggesting the latest sneeze from the US equity market could morph into a global markets pandemic".

Some early relief over a tame report on USA inflation gave way to renewed selling.

Banks are taking some of the biggest losses.

When investors expect rates to rise, the prices of bonds paying lower interest rates falls. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 3.16 percent.

But Asian bourses were hit hardest on Thursday afternoon - Hong Kong (-3.5pc), Tokyo (-3.9pc), Seoul (-4.4pc) and Shanghai (-5.2pc).

Earnings season is underway. Chip gear producers Applied Materials, Teradyne and ASML Holdings fell between 3.5 percent and 4.6 percent. The S&P 500 slipped 55 points, or 2 per cent, to 2,730.

Oil prices fell more than two percent as US stocks plunged, even though energy traders anxious about shrinking supply from Iran due to US sanctions and kept an eye on Hurricane Michael, which closed almost 40 percent of US Gulf of Mexico output.

USA gold futures settled up $1.9, or 0.16 percent, at $1,193.4.

Stocks fell Wednesday as concerns about global economic growth and ongoing trade tensions continued to hang over Wall Street and after the bond market resumed a sell-off that started last week. Defensive utilities were the only space spared, with tech, the market leader this year, getting hit with some of the worst selling. A report showing only a modest pickup in consumer prices seemed to calm investors just before the open. Industrial and internet companies also fell hard. The two-year yield rose to 2.88 percent from 2.87 percent, and the 30-year yield climbed to 3.38 percent from 3.37 percent.

The benchmark Dow index fell 831 points to close at 25,598.74 on Wednesday, wiping out 3.2 percent of its value in the sharpest drop since February. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was down by 2.4 percent.

Vanessa Coleman