A broad-based selloff on Wall Street followed another bout of heavy selling overseas Wednesday.
The Dow industrials (^DJI) tumbled 217 points, dropping back below the 15,000 level. It's the third triple-digit loss in six sessions. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) dropped 22 points and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) fell 43.
The selling was across the board, with declining stocks swamping gainers.
In addition to the big market losses in Japan and Europe, there's continued concern about when the Federal Reserve will start to close the spigot on its stimulus program. There's also concern about whether the Fed's bond-buying program is doing enough to revive the economy. The payroll-processing firm ADP (ADP) says private sector job creation last month was pretty weak.
Industrial, retail and financial stocks were big losers.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) fell 1 percent on reports the company will lose more than 800-million on the debt an Alabama county restructures as part of its exit from bankruptcy. Among other financials, Blackrock (BLK) fell 3 percent, Citigroup (C) lost 2 percent, and Wells Fargo (WFC) 1 percent.
U.S. Bancorp (USB) fell nearly 1 percent after federal regulators filed suit, alleging the company failed to protect customer accounts from being raided by the defunct brokerage-firm Peregrine Financial.
In the tech sector, Microsoft (MSFT) edged down as a Deutsche Bank analyst lowered his rating on the stock to "hold." IBM (IBM), Intel (INTC) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) all lost around 2 percent.
And biotechs continue to lose ground. Celgene (CELG) and Gilead Sciences (GILD) dropped 4 percent each; Amgen (AMGN) and Biogen Idec (BIIB) fell more than 2 percent.
General Motors (GM) fell more than 2 percent after the Treasury Department said it would sell 30 million GM shares and a UAW Trust will sell another 20 million shares. The government acquired a majority stake in GM when it bailed the company out in 2008.
Among the few winners: Walgreen (WAG) said a key measure of sales rose more than expected last month. And Mattress Firm (MFRM) shareholders can sleep well. The stock jumped 5 percent on better-than-expected earnings.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg