At midday: TSX, Wall Street continue to fall as sell-off extends globally

At midday: TSX, Wall Street continue to fall as sell-off extends globally

The Dow Jones industrial average had its second-biggest drop of the year, plunging almost 500 points, or 1.9 percent, shortly after 2:00 p.m.

Meanwhile, strong economic data has led to a sell-off in U.S. Treasury bonds, which is fueling fears of even higher interest rates.

Technology and internet-based companies are known for their high profit margins, and many have reported explosive growth in recent years, with corresponding gains in their stock prices. The Dow Jones Small-Cap Growth TSM Index closed at 9,804.90 for a loss of -308.43 points or -3.05%. The broad-index Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was off 2 percent, to 2,728. Markets are still rattled and they appear headed for a second day of significant losses.

The Nasdaq composite, with a large contingent of tech stocks, tumbled 315.97 points, or 4.1 percent, to 7,422.05.

Paint and coatings maker PPG gave a weak third-quarter forecast Monday, while earlier, Pepsi and Conagra's quarterly reports reflected increased expenses. The two-day loss of 5.3 percent is the biggest for Dow since February.

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 Mortgage Bankers Association's mortgage applications index was down -1.7%. That's still sharply higher than it was about a week ago, and earlier this week the yield on the 10-year note reached its highest level since mid-2011.

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Tech stocks, hit hard Wednesday, crept back into positive territory Thursday morning.

Francis Tan, an investment strategist at UOB private bank, believes the markets will likely pick up in the US session. Barclays is particularly concerned about a choppy earnings season for tech companies. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gave up 3.9 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shed 3.5 percent. U.S. gold futures settled up $1.9, or 0.16 percent, at $1,193.4.

Some market watchers had predicted a bounce on Thursday after Wednesday's pullback, Wall Street's worst day since February. A report showing only a modest pickup in consumer prices seemed to calm investors just before the open.

But Hogan said earnings were also a source of worry because they could showcase the consequences of Trump's trade wars for U.S. companies, from raising costs of raw materials to forcing enterprises to change supply chains.

The S&P 500 index sank 95 points, or 3.3 percent, to 2,786, its fifth straight drop. The two-year yield rose to 2.88 percent from 2.87 percent, and the 30-year yield climbed to 3.38 percent from 3.37 percent.

The 10-year Treasury yield remained at 3.20 percent, about where it was late Tuesday, after earlier touching 3.24 percent. The benchmark S&P 500 dropped below its 200-day moving average price, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped below its 100-day moving average. The Nasdaq Composite was down 1.25%, briefly dipping into correction territory on the heels of its worst session since the Brexit referendum.

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