US stock market has worst day in eight months

US stock indexes keep falling as rates resume their climb

US stocks are plunging toward their worst loss in six months on Wednesday as technology companies continue to take sharp losses.

Although the losses were widespread, stocks that have been the biggest winners on the market, including technology companies and retailers, suffered steep declines.

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.

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.

"The tax cuts juiced earnings this year and that's not sustainable", he said.

Compared to the start of this year, one aspect of current market conditions may be concerning.

The Dow 30 dropped more than 800 points, or 3.1%, to finish at 25,608.03.

The S&P 500 fell 39 points, or 1.4 percent, to 2,840. The benchmark USA stock index hadn't suffered a five-day losing streak since November 2016, just before the presidential election.

Oil prices fell more than 2 percent as U.S. stocks plunged, even though energy traders anxious about shrinking supply from Iran due to U.S. sanctions and kept an eye on Hurricane Michael, which closed almost 40 percent of U.S. Gulf of Mexico output. It's fallen sharply over the past five days.

Earlier this morning, Wall Street suffered its worst trading day in eight months, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 832 points to 25,599. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 37 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,584.

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Andrew Bascand, managing director of Harbour Asset Management, said the last time the New Zealand market dropped by this much in a day was probably in February when there was a similar period of rising bond yields. That didn't happen Wednesday as stocks fell further late in the day.

The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled more than 400 points to just below 26,000 at lows.

Apple gave up 4.6 percent to $216.36 and Microsoft dropped 5.4 percent to $106.16.

The CAC 40 in France dropped 2.1 percent, Germany's DAX lost 2.2 percent and the FTSE 100 in London fell 1.3 percent.

Trade-sensitive industrial stocks also fell as tensions between Washington and Beijing persisted.

Shares in Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google's parent company Alphabet - the so-called "FAANG" stocks that have driven USA markets to all-time highs recently - all fell in NY trading.

Insurance companies dropped as Hurricane Michael continued to gather strength and came ashore in Florida bringing winds of up to 155 miles an hour.

The biggest driver for the market over the last week has been interest rates, which began spurting higher following several encouraging reports on the economy.

USA stocks notched solid gains in the third quarter as investors brushed aside worries about trade wars and focused on strong corporate earnings and solid United States economic data.

But it was the rout across the Atlantic that proved even more eye-catching with the rise in US Treasury bond yields to seven-year highs seen as a key factor. The yield was just 2.82 percent in last August.

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