3M was another big loser in the Dow, falling 6.8 per cent after it lowered its full-year forecast and disclosed an US$897 million charge connected to settling a lawsuit with the state of Minnesota over release of chemicals that allegedly polluted drinking water. 3M, the maker of scotch tape and Post-it notes, saw its shares fall by 6.8 percent.
Alphabet fell 4.8 percent after reporting a spike in spending. It was down as much as 619 earlier before paring some of its losses. Germany's DAX fell 1.66% and France's CAC was lower by 0.62%.
Industrial and basic materials companies and technology firms took some of the worst losses.
On Wednesday Goodyear Tire & Rubber said higher raw materials costs and weaker demand hurt its business in the first quarter. Silver climbed 0.7 percent to $16.70 an ounce. Meanwhile, Alphabet, the parent of Google, has recently published big earnings yesterday.
Comcast rose 2.7 percent after the largest US cable company confirmed its $31 billion bid for Sky on the heels of its better-than-expected earnings report.
THE QUOTE: "U.S. markets were rocked by both bond yields and corporate concerns overnight, seeing only few defensive sectors thriving on the comprehensive S&P 500 index".
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The 10-year Treasury yield hit the psychologically important 3% for the first time in more than four years Tuesday, but retreated again toward the end of the session. Verizon, Harley-Davidson and Fifth Third Bancorp all rose.
The broad-based S&P 500 fell 35.73 points (1.34 per cent) to 2,634.56, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 121.25 points (1.70 per cent) to 7,007.35. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 137 points, or 0.6 percent, to 23,886.
The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield, a benchmark for global borrowing costs, finished above 3 percent as the supply of government debt surged due to a revenue shortfall following the massive tax overhaul.
Bond yields, which are reflecting a rise in inflation expectations, were on the march higher Monday, a continuation of gains logged last week.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 400 points on Tuesday amid fears of rising interest rates and Caterpillar hinting at a halt in economic growth. More than 83 percent of S&P 500 companies that have stated through Tuesday morning have topped earnings estimates, according to FactSet. The Dow Jones Small-Cap Growth TSM Index closed at 9,554.38 for a loss of -19.25 points or -0.20%.
Elsewhere, defense contractor Lockheed Martin sank 7.3 percent to $332.28 and Boeing lost 4.3 percent to $324.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.7 percent to 30,108.64 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China lost 0.9 percent to 3,089.21. Liquidity allows an investor to enter and exit a stock at a good price (i.e. tight spreads, or the difference between the bid and ask price of a stock, and low slippage, or the difference between the predictable price of a trade and the actual price).