Dow Jones industrials sink 700 points as bond yields rise

Traders at the Cboe Global Markets exchange in Chicago. Stocks got hammered

Investors may want to shift out of momentum and into more defensive stocks - companies that aren't as expensive and also pay healthy, stable dividends.

Stocks from emerging markets were also hard hit.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump responded to the USA stock market sell-off by again criticising the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates, calling it a "mistake". "This is a bull market correction".

The S&P/NZX50 was down 2.3 per cent today falling 204 points to 8845.

All 30 Dow stocks were in the red, sending the index below 26,000 points for the first time in a month.

The S&P 500 fell nearly 92 points, or just over 3 percent, the biggest daily loss since February this year.

At 2:40pm local time, the Dow was down 510.76 points, or 1.93 per cent, at 25,919.51, the S&P 500 was down 55.64 points, or 1.93 per cent, at 2,824.70 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 185.52 points, or 2.40 per cent, at 7,552.19.

In technology, Microsoft dropped 3.1 per cent to US$108.76 Wednesday and Nvidia lost 4.7 per cent to US$253.13.

Zechner says after booming for so long, stock markets tend not to rise forever and markets historically correct before the broader economy does.

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It came after Wall Street stocks plunged Wednesday, with major indices losing more than three per cent in a sell-off prompted by the sudden jump in USA interest rates and increasing trade worries. The FAANGs, spread over three sectors, were down between 1.4 per cent and 4.5 per cent.

Technology stocks slid more than 2 percent, the most among the 11 major S&P sectors, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor index down 3 percent after Swiss vacuum valve maker VAT Group said demand from chip equipment makers was softening.

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. That didn't happen Wednesday as stocks fell further late in the day.

Meanwhile struggling retailer Sears was in focus as the Wall Street Journal reported that it was preparing to file for bankruptcy. It was more than $40 five years ago.

USA stocks experienced their worse day in months Wednesday with the Dow dropping 800 points on the day.

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 stock fell 16.8 percent to 49 cents.

The CAC 40 in France dropped 1.5 percent, Germany's DAX lost 1.2 percent and the FTSE 100 in London slipped 0.4 percent. Brazil's Bovespa lost 2.5 per cent and the Merval in Argentina sank 2.2 per cent.

There were, however, slight lifts for Japan's Nikkei, which added 0.2 per cent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, which gained 0.2 per cent.

A senior White House official told CNBC that President Donald Trump, who has often pointed to rising stock markets at his campaign rallies, had been briefed about the market downturn. Investors see many of these countries as being vulnerable to higher U.S. interest rates, which can pull away investment dollars.

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