The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 738 points, or 2.8 percent, to 25,686. Within the index, 26 stocks fell, 20 gained and four were unchanged. But with the S&P 500 down for the fifth consecutive days, investors were sweating more than usual when the markets closed. And tech stocks got hit particularly hard.

Big moves in interest rates tend to unsettle investors, and they can also push them to sell stocks and buy bonds instead.

October has often been a nerve-racking month for investors, and this month is living up to that reputation.

After plunging 2.3 per cent at the opening, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index trimmed losses to 1.65 per cent before sliding again to trade down 116 points, or 1.92 per cent, at 5933 points at noon AEDT on Thursday. The Dow's percentage decline doesn't crack the top percentage declines.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury bonds rose to 3.23 per cent, the highest level in seven years. The two-year yield rose to 2.89 percent from 2.87 percent, and the 30-year yield climbed to 3.39 percent from 3.37 percent.

Higher long-term rates could slow down red hot sectors of the economy, including technology, especially as the Federal Reserve seems intent on raising short-term rates for the foreseeable future. "This orphan status that equity markets have enjoyed for the last 10 years is disappearing and finally getting some competition from the bond market". Industrial and internet companies also fell hard.

Which stocks are taking the big hits?

Technology stocks dropped 3 percent, with Netflix, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet leading the way.

But there were few places to hide Wednesday. The S&P 500 Utilities index is up 0.4%, a sign that investors are just plain scared.

The Nasdaq on Wednesday registered its biggest daily drop since June 24, 2016, hurt by technology stocks which had their biggest one-day drop since August 2011.

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Some of the big losers were stocks that have scored double-digits gains this year.

Volatility has returned with a vengeance.

Wall Street stocks has plunged with major indices losing more than three percent in a sell-off prompted by the sudden jump in U.S. interest rates.

"I think the Fed has gone insane", he said.

Trump often points to a strong economy and rising stock market as proof his tax and fiscal policies are working.

"Fear is rising", says chief investment officer at Cumberland Advisors David Kotok. Donald Trump did indeed get elected, and his warning rang true on Wednesday, as major USA stock markets plunged in tandem-thanks in part to signs that a very healthy economy could be stoking inflation. That money has to come from somewhere, and often it comes from "higher risk" stocks, like those in the tech sector.

And Geoff Alexander, the president of R. M. Davis, a wealth management firm, said he wasn't getting too nervous about Wednesday's market madness either.

Bascand said outside the U.S. data was not so strong indicating global growth was no longer synchronised and stronger United States data was not necessarily a good thing for all as it meant higher interest rates. This slide was long overdue. When yields rise for that reason, it is generally good for stocks.