By mid-morning it was down 2.9 per cent at 21,443.72. As markets opened on Thursday, the color was red: China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 2.5 per cent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index 2.3 per cent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index also fell more than 2 per cent.
Technology stocks and media and communications companies accounted for much of the selling.
US stocks plunged again on Wednesday, confirming a correction for the Nasdaq and erasing the Dow and the S&P 500's gains for the year, as disappointing forecasts from chipmakers and weak home sales data fueled jitters about economic and profit growth.
Technology and health care companies also took heavy losses Tuesday. Netflix gave back 9.4 per cent to United States dollars 301.83 and Amazon dropped 5.9 per cent to USD 1,664.20.
Chipmakers Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics warned of slowing demand.
The Nasdaq.IXIC closed down 12.4 percent from its August 29 record closing high, falling 4.4 percent for the day in its biggest one-day percentage decline since August 18, 2011. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index plummeted 4.4% to finish at 7,108.40, while the broad-based S&P 500 sank 3.1% to 2,656.15. Futures on the Nasdaq 100 and Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.5% and 0.2% respectively.
Nasdaq futures were down 1.7 per cent and S&P500 futures were down one per cent on Friday afternoon. Bond prices continued to rise, sending yields lower, as traders sought safe-haven investments.
Stocks are turning broadly lower in midday trading on Wall Street, extending a losing streak for the S&P 500 index to a sixth day.
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Disappointing quarterly results and outlooks are stoking investors' jitters over future growth in corporate profits.
The big four banks were down about two and a half per cent each, while Macquarie Group was down 3.2 per cent.
Shares of Qantas Airways fell nearly 4% after the company eported a 6.3% increase in first-quarter revenue, reflecting a jump in forward bookings and higher airfares that helped offset rising fuel costs.
In Hong Kong, airline Cathay Pacific's shares dropped 6.5 per cent after it said it had discovered a data breach affecting 9.4 million passengers.
Boeing jumped 3.3 per cent after beating analysts' earnings forecasts. In late afternoon trades, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index tanked 130.72 points, or 2.24%, at 5,698.30 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 133.32 points, or 2.25%, to 5,793.20 points.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 50 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 25,138. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 17 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,509.
The dive in formerly high-flying USA tech stocks sent investors scampering to the safety of sovereign bonds, with yields in 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR falling the most since May to 3.11 percent.
The Australian share market has tumbled to its lowest level in 12 months, with the indices suffering significant losses across the board after a dive on Wall Street overnight.