Wall Street savaged by tech sell-off

The strengthening dollar has led to massive foreign outflows from Asian equity funds and has forced local central banks to raise interest rates in order to protect their plunging currencies

"The US dollar has been strengthening this year and the pace has accelerated", said Leung, executive director at UOB in Hong Kong.

"Weak U.S. housing data, mixed corporate earnings results, trade war fears and concerns regarding a slowing global economy all contributed to the sell off", Sydney-based Rivkin Securities said in a note to clients.

"There has definitely been a change in sentiment for investors starting with the volatility we had last week".

Global worries included the growing worldwide pressure on Saudi Arabia over the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

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Adding to the air of tension, police intercepted suspected bombs mailed to former U.S. President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other high-profile Democrats, as well as to CNN, in what NY officials branded an act of terrorism.

Another torrent of selling gripped Wall Street Wednesday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting more than 600 points and extending a losing streak for the benchmark S&P 500 index to a sixth day.

On Wednesday, data showed sales of new US single-family homes fell to a near two-year low in September, the latest sign that rising mortgage rates and higher prices were hurting demand for housing.

Still, most of the carnage continued after tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index plunged 4.4% for its biggest single-day slide since August 2011 and entered a correction Wednesday. At its session lows, the Dow had fallen 548.62 points, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq had lost more than 2 percent each on Tuesday.

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It's been a painful start for what has historically been the kindest quarter for the city's stocks. "Could Asian markets really withstand four rate hikes in US next year?"

In foreign exchange markets, client participation on both spot and options was fairly light, Citi noted in a separate note.

That year, talks between China and the United Kingdom about the city's future sparked panic across financial markets, triggering a sharp depreciation of the Hong Kong dollar. Industrial stocks slid 1.90 percent.

Sterling hit a seven-week trough $1.2865 GBP=, having dropped 0.8 percent overnight. It's effectively what's triggered this latest sell-off: investors could stomach some of the effects of higher discount rates on valuations if earnings growth could (on balance) outweigh its impacts.

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The yen got the usual safe-haven bid, with the euro skidding to a two-month low at 127.68 yen. Even the high-flying dollar eased to 112 yen JPY=. The top-down themes that pushed the index to decade long highs this year proved some combination of the rejuvenation of the global growth story, the strong global appetite for riskier momentum/growth stocks, and finally sporadic (and fleeting) recoveries in the major bank stocks. Brent crude fell 76 cents to $75.68 a barrel, while United States crude dropped 40 cents to $66.42.

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