A number of US blue-chips were hammered as companies including DuPont and 3M reported earnings and guidance that fell short of analyst estimates.
The reaction was savage, with the Dow recording its worst one-session loss since June. The blue-chip index sank 243 points (-1.8%), closing at 13103.
Other indices weren’t spared from the carnage, with Germany and France sinking over two percent after Moody’s cut credit ratings on a number of Spanish regions.
There wasn’t much to cheer about in commodity markets, with oil sliding 2.7% to US$86.32 a barrel as the poor US earnings ignited fears of a sharp drop off in energy demand.
Elsewhere, gold fell to an almost six week low as the US dollar rose on the back of safe-haven demand. Bullion for December delivery dropped 1.1% to US$1710 an ounce.
The euro weakened on the Moody’s Spain downgrade, whilst the Aussie dollar slipped to US$1.0262 ahead of today’s September quarter CPI data, which is slated for release at 11:30am, AEDT.