There were further declines on global markets overnight as a mixed set of US economic numbers did little to ease concerns of a December start date for stimulus tapering.
Although data showed retail sales climbing more than forecast in November, jobless claims surged more than expected last week.
With the jobs data likely influenced by the Thanksgiving holiday, investors remain of the view the Fed is on track to adjust stimulus at next week’s meeting.
The Dow fell another 105 points (-0.7%) to 15739, the S&P500 shed six points (-0.4%) to 1776 and the Nasdaq let go of six points (-0.2%) to 3998.
After being offered a brief respite in recent weeks, gold was sold off heavily overnight, suffering its biggest one day loss since October. Bullion tumbled 2.6% to US$1225 an ounce.
The precious metal came under renewed pressure from speculation the Fed will reduce quantitative easing at the upcoming December FOMC meeting.
The big news story in currency markets was the Aussie dollar, which was slammed by comments from Glenn Stevens, who said he preferred the local unit to be trading around 85 US cents.
There is no major economic data due for release today.