Wall Street slid anew overnight with the price of oil. European banks fell again following Japan's Nikkei index tumbling 5.4 per cent.
Oil moved lower, with West Texas Intermediate for March delivery dropping more than 3 per cent to US$28.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Wall Street followed suit. In 1.09pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.7 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 1.1 per cent. In 12.54pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.5 per cent.
"We're starting to feel some of the knock on effects from energy and distress in those markets," Steven Baffico, chief executive officer at Four Wood Capital Partners in New York, told Reuters.
"Over the last couple of days, that's spread into the financial system," Baffico noted. "It's difficult to find a lot of momentum to the upside for any sustained period of time."
• Kiwi tech stocks taking a hammering
• Fears for life after Olympics in Japan
Declines in shares of Chevron and those of Exxon Mobil, last down 3.5 percent and 2.6 percent respectively, led the slide in the Dow. Shares of Wal-Mart Stores were 2.6 percent weaker.
"It's quite a tussle between the bulls and bears," John Carey, a Boston-based fund manager at Pioneer Investment Management, told Bloomberg. "Some people think this is a temporary setback and that the market maybe got a little ahead of itself-that nothing is really wrong with the economy and this is a good buying opportunity. Others think the market is indicating a slowdown in months ahead."
Bank shares have also been caught in the fray.
In an attempt to ease investors' concerns about its balance sheet, Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan said the Germany's largest lender remained "absolutely rock-solid".
Separately, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said the US bank might further cut costs.
"We can absolutely do a lot more on the cost side if we have to, especially now, when you have to deliver a return," Blankfein said at the Credit Suisse financial services forum in Miami, according to Reuters.
"We take a particular and energetic look at continued cost cuts when revenues are stalled," Blankfein said. "Necessity is the mother of invention."
And shares of Credit Suisse Group sank more than 8 per cent after the Swiss National Bank said it could cut its negative deposit rate further.
Europe's Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 1.6 per cent decline from the previous close. That was its lowest since October 2013, according to Bloomberg. The UK's FTSE 100 Index slid 1 per cent, while Germany's DAX Index fell 1.1 per cent, and France's CAC 40 Index dropped 1.7 per cent
Greece's ASE Index dropped to its lowest since at least 1989, Bloomberg noted.
The interest rate on Japan's benchmark bond dropped into negative territory for the first time. The yields on Japan's bonds have been low for years as the country kept its interest rates at or near zero.
Some of the latest US earnings disappointed. Shares of Viacom plunged, last down 14.8 per cent, while those of Twenty-First Century Fox also fell, last 2.4 per cent weaker, after both media companies reported earnings that fell short of the mark.