Thursday's tumble follows a fall by U.S. stocks overnight, which confirmed a correction too for the Nasdaq and erased the Dow and S&P 500's gains for the year amid disappointing earnings, economic growth concerns, a spat between Italy and the European Union and the killing of a Saudi journalist.
Aurora Cannabis Inc., which debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, was down US$1.38 cents at US$7.31 on the USA market. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.4 percent and the Kospi in South Korea gave up 0.4 percent.
As global share markets crumbled for a second day, the Australian dollar held its nerve while losses on Wall Street and a sharp drop in Treasury yields hindered its United States counterpart.
"Investors are on pins and needles", said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank.
Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index erased their annual gains, even as the S&P 500 operating income is surging more than twice the historical average. Technology and internet companies and banks took the heaviest losses.
"There has definitely been a change in sentiment for investors starting with the volatility we had last week".
The Australian dollar is buying 70.63 U.S. cents, down from 70.99 USA cents on Wednesday.
Chipmakers Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics warned of slowing demand.
The S&P 500 fell 33 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,706 as of 11:35 a.m.
"The sentiment and the outlook seems to be turning more negative, or at the very least, less rosy".
Shares in iRobot plunged 12.3 per cent to Dollars 80.49 after the robotics technology company said tariffs will reduce its profitability in the fourth quarter.
Recent signs that the housing market is slowing are fuelling speculation that U.S. economic growth will start to slow next year.
The dive in formerly high-flying US 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. 3M Co. plunged 6.8 percent after third-quarter profits missed expectations and the company cut its full-year earnings forecast. Alphabet also just reported its Q3 2018 results, with earnings of $33.74 billion - up 21 per cent from the same quarter previous year but not beating expectations.
It was up 3.6 per cent to $14.25, while index benchmark CSL was also buoyant, closing 1.3 per cent higher at $176.90.
Boeing jumped 2.2 per cent in early trading Wednesday after beating analysts' earnings forecasts and raising its estimates for the year, citing faster orders for aircraft.
The dollar weakened to 112.19 yen from 112.82 yen on Monday. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, dropped 4.1 percent to $76.52 per barrel in London. Apple fell 1.6 percent.