This reflected investor concern that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates and that this will slow economic growth and make borrowing more expensive for the US government, as well as businesses and consumers.
A man looks at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018.
Investors are wary of possible further us interest rate hikes.
Others followed suit upon their openings, with Japan's Nikkei and Topix, the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index, then Shanghai Composite Index and the Shenzhen Component Index all losing more than 3 percent.
Australia's benchmark ASX 200 dropped nearly 2 percent immediately after opening in Asia Thursday morning. Strong economic data and a positive outlook from Fed officials have led to a sell-off in U.S. Treasury bonds, particularly longer-term ones, sparking concerns about even higher interest rates.
"This meltdown isn't just a mild case of the sniffles, suggesting the latest sneeze from the USA equity market could morph into a global markets pandemic", he added.
The negative sentiment was also reflected in European markets, with Paris, London and Frankfurt ending their sessions firmly in the red.
The blood letting was bad enough to attract the attention of US President Donald Trump, who pointed an accusing finger at the Fed for raising interest rates. "They're so tight. I think the Fed has gone insane", he told reporters while traveling in Pennsylvania Wednesday.
The International Monetary Fund cut its outlook for global growth this week, citing interest rates and trade tensions.
The Chinese economy was already showing signs of weakening, and USA tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods could threaten the country's massive export industries.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned China against "competitive devaluation" of its currency against the USA dollar as the trade war escalates. The Kospi in South Korea fell 4 percent to 2,139.51. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 2.4% to 5,906.00.
Shares in Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google's parent company Alphabet - the so-called "Faang" stocks that have driven U.S. markets to all-time highs recently - all fell in NY trading.
The selling was triggered by a fall of more than 800 points in the Dow Jones industrial average on Wall Street on Wednesday.
Traders were set for losses in Asian stocks after a rout in United States equities that deepened late in the day amid investor concern that rising interest rates and trade tensions could hurt company profits. The broader S&P 500 fell by 3.3 per cent to 2,785.68, its fifth consecutive day of decline and its worst run since President Trump was elected. The Nasdaq composite, which has a large contingent of technology stocks, was 4.1 percent lower at 7,422.05. It has fallen 7.5% in just five days.
Apple and Amazon, the two most valuable companies in the S&P 500, each had their worst day in 2½ years. Netflix was down more than 8 percent, Amazon was off 6 percent, and Apple and Google were both down more than 4.5 percent.
Francis Tan, an investment strategist at UOB private bank, believes the markets will likely pick up in the United States session.
"The valuation of USA stocks, especially tech stocks, is still pretty high and there could be some profit taking actions now", Tan explained.
The euro pushed up to US$1.1538 and away from a low of US$1.1429 early in the week.
A man is seen behind an electronic board displaying the Nikkei average and Japanese yen rate againt the US dollar at the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo, Japan, October 11, 2018.
Brent crude fell 1.9 percent to $81.51 a barrel, while US crude dropped 1.7 percent to $71.93. The contract settled at 73.17 dollars in NY. Brent crude, the global standard, dropped $1.18 to $81.91 a barrel.