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The NZX and ASX fared slightly better on closing on Wednesday, with the benchmark NZX50 down 0.2% and S&P/ASX200 up by 0.14%, but on opening yesterday the latter was down 2.03%.
Yesterday, the NZX50 closed at 8721.20, down 329.62 or 3.6%, and the ASX200 was down 166 points, or 2.74%, to 5883.8 points.
Stocks in the US tumbled on Wednesday, with the S&P500 and the Dow Jones marking their biggest daily declines since early February.
Late yesterday, Reuters reported that Asian sharemarkets had sank in a sea of red after Wall Street's worst drubbing in eight months, a conflagration of wealth which could threaten business confidence and investment across the globe.
Japan's Nikkei fell 3.4%, its steepest daily drop since March, the broader TOPIX lost around $US195billion in market value, and Shanghai shares touched their lowest since late 2014, while China blue chips slid 3%.
The US technology stocks were at the centre of the carnage as rising US Treasury bond yields sent investors fleeing from risky assets.
Craigs Investment partners broker Chris Timms said US stocks tumbled, the most since April, amid fresh concerns over the US-China trade war and steep tech-stock declines.
"Worries of rapidly rising interest rates sent Wall Street into sell-off mode," Mr Timms said
The S&P 500 fell 3.29%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged over 800 points or 3.15%, and the Nasdaq tumbled 4.08%.
The decline in the S&P500 was its fifth daily decline and largest drop since February, Mr Timms said.
Forsyth Barr broker Damian Foster said the decline also highlighted concerns over higher interest rates and trade tension between the world's two largest economies.
"The US, Europe and UK markets notched up losses, while most Asian indices were in light green," he said.
AAP reported commodity prices were also down amid wider global uncertainty, with oil slipping 2%, iron ore flat, and copper and aluminium edging lower.
Gold prices inched up, as investors sought refuge in the metal.
In the UK the FTSE shed 1.3% and Stoxx Europe 600 was down 0.2%.