Wall Street dives, setting the ASX up for heavy losses at open

A screen above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shows the closing number of the Dow Jones industrial average

In the US the losses were even steeper.The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off by 818 points when markets closed, or more than three per cent. Apple and Amazon both had their worst day in two and a half years.

The Nasdaq composite, which has a high concentration of technology companies, suffered its biggest loss in more than two years and has dropped nearly 8 percent since the start of October.

The jump in yields came a day after the International Monetary Fund slashed its global growth forecast on worries about trade wars and weakness in emerging markets.

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

Media and tech companies went along for the stomach-churning ride, with the widespread carnage putting every single company in red figures. Eastern time. It's on track for its fifth straight drop, which hasn't happened since right before the 2016 presidential election. (NASDAQ: NFLX) were among the hardest hit stocks, tumbling 4.8 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively. It's fallen 7.5 per cent in just five days.

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The benchmark S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell almost 1.5 percent and at the day's low had retreated 3.7 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, from their all-time highs.

The small-cap Russell 2000 index, which is less sensitive than its larger peers to global worries such as trade and yields, was down 1.18 percent. Higher rates increase borrowing costs, pinching corporate profits. Traditional conglomerates CBS, Disney and Comcast all shed 3% of their value, while tech issues booked bigger losses. The stock fell 16.8 per cent to 49 cents.

A surge in Treasury yields appears to be fueling the losses, as the 10-year US Treasury yield spiked last month and has continued to climb throughout October, landing at 3.21 per cent.

Tom Cahill of Ventura Wealth Management said investors were also unnerved by remarks from luxury company LVMH of a crackdown on some goods in China amid the country's bitter dispute with the United States.

Microsoft lost 1.4 per cent in early trading Wednesday and 3M gave up 1.6 per cent.

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Insurance companies slumped as Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle. Berkshire Hathaway dipped 4.7 percent to $213.10 and reinsurer Everest Re slid 5.1 percent to $217.73. Tiffany plunged 10.2 percent to $110.38 and Ralph Lauren fell 8.4 percent to $116.96.

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.

Investors are leaning into safer stocks with steady dividends - utilities and consumer staples - and pulling out of the higher-paying, higher-risk stocks as other guideposts of growth, like the communication sector, tumbled. It was at just 3.05 per cent early last week.

Wall Street stocks plunged Wednesday, with major indices losing more than three percent in a selloff prompted by the sudden jump in U.S. interest rates.

"Amazon recently announced they were increasing wages, Facebook is spending a ton on security", she said.

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The S&P 500 posted 12 new 52-week highs and 47 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 12 new highs and 227 new lows.

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