In its steepest decline since March, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 800 points.
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Technology giants have suffered an investor rout that sent United States stock markets falling heavily on Wednesday.
Slides in corporate shares weren't just contained to the Dow.
United States government bonds resumed a selloff after rising to multi-year highs last week, with the 2-year yield rising to 2.906%, its highest level since June 2008.
Specialist Gregg Maloney works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on October 10, 2018.Rebecca Jarvis and Taylor Dunn contributed to reporting.
Sears has closed hundreds of stores and sold several famous brands or put them on the block as it sees more customers abandon its stores.
The advance of US Treasury yields to more than seven-year highs, as well as escalating fears over US-China trade relations, has hurt equity investor confidence, with the major US indexes losing more than two per cent overnight. Natural gas rose 0.6 per cent to $3.28 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Tech stocks and companies that sell non-essentials to consumers have been some of the top performers over the previous year, gaining almost twice as much ground as the S&P 500. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 37 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,584.
Many investors now believe that the Federal Reserve's campaign to "normalize" monetary policy, reversing years of extraordinary support that included the quantitative easing bond buying program and keeping its overnight target very low, will push interest rates higher than previously thought.
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.
COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 60 cents to $74.36 per barrel. Brent crude, the global standard, lost 2.2 per cent to $83.09 a barrel in London. The energy sector was close behind with a 2.9 percent loss, as oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico shutting down due to the hurricane.
Tom Cahill of Ventura Wealth Management said investors were also unnerved by remarks from luxury company LVMH of a crackdown on some goods in China amid the country's bitter dispute with the United States.
Gold rose 0.2 per cent to $1,193.40 an ounce.
The S&P 500 fell 39 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,840. The Nasdaq composite fell 152 points, or 2 percent, to 7,585.
Stocks from emerging markets were also hard hit. As bond yields rise, risk-averse investors-ranging from the proverbial cautious retiree to huge pension funds-become more willing to park more money in bonds and collect the interest. Brazil's Bovespa lost 2.5 per cent and the Merval in Argentina sank 2.2 per cent. The British pound rose to $1.3197 from $1.3146.
The Australian dollar slipped against major currencies, down to 70.7 U.S. cents, 53.6 British pence, 61.4 Euro cents and 79.5 Japanese yen.