Stocks of top technology firms Appel, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook dropped by between 4 and 8 per cent amid economic shock fears brought about by the coronavirus and a possible second wave.
Nasdaq, where many technology companies are listed, was down five per cent at close of business and the Dow Jones fell by almost three per cent while S&P fell by 3.5 per cent.
In Asia, the Nikkei index in Tokyo fell by one per cent and, in Hong Kong, Hang Seng lost 1.4 per cent.
Concerns about the US economy were exacerbated as the ‘fear gauge’ Vix index hit its highest since mid-July. And the statement by US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci that a COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to be developed before the end of October did not help.
The effects were felt in Europe too where the FTSE 100 closed at 1.5 per cent down at 5,850 points and in German the Dax fell by 1.4 per cent.