The S&P 500 is down 17.51 points, or 0.7 percent.
About 24 per cent of the companies in the S&P 500 had reported third-quarter results as of Wednesday. Technology and consumer-focused companies accounted for much of the slide.
The S&P 500 index fell 42 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 2,664. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower, as investors continued to seek less risky assets.
Wednesday's decline left the S&P and the Dow Jones down 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent for the year respectively.
Companies began reporting their results for the third quarter last week. "That's causing some of this volatility". The tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 329.14 points, or 4.4 per cent, to 7,108.40.
The SPI200 futures contract was down 94 points, or 1.62 per cent, to 5,700.0 at 0700 AEDT on Thursday, signalling another opening plunge for the local market after energy and materials shares drove it lower on Wednesday. The average was briefly down 539 points. The stock fell as much as 5.6 per cent before recovering to end down just 1.8 per cent.
Stock trading turned volatile in October after a placid summer, with big sell-offs in the sectors that have powered the bulk of the gains during the market's long bull run.
While economic growth is mostly healthy, disappointing corporate results and forecasts this earnings season have shown how tariffs, rising wages and borrowing costs as well as jitters over geopolitical events are hurting companies.
Traders are anxious that rising interest rates and the escalating U.S.
EARNINGS SPREE: Investors were weighing the latest batch of company results in the busiest week of the quarterly earnings calendar. Google-owner Alphabet was down 5.5 per cent at one point after it too missed analyst estimates on revenue growth. The euro fell to $1.1353 from $1.1359. "Our forecast is therefore for the S&P 500 to drop by a total of about 15 percent from its recent peak".
The sector has lost about 10 percent in October and, if losses hold, it would be the worst month for the high-growth sector in almost 10 years.
On the brighter side was data that showed gross domestic product increased at a 3.5 percent annualized rate in the third quarter as a tariff-related drop in soybean exports was partly offset by the strongest consumer spending in almost four years and a surge in inventory investment.
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The Nasdaq added 245 points, or 3.5 percent, to 7,354.
Recent signs that the housing market is slowing are fuelling speculation that USA economic growth will start to slow next year.
About 9.1 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges.
Investors moved to the relative safety of USA government bonds, which move inversely to yields, with the 10-year falling 4.7 basis points to 3.089%, its lowest in three weeks.
Brent crude, the benchmark for worldwide oil prices, dropped 0.5 percent to $76.52 a barrel in London. Brent crude, used to price global oils, declined 72 cents to $75.45 a barrel.
After the closing bell, Microsoft rose 2.7 percent following the release of its results.
Toyota Motor Corp. gave up 2.1 percent while Hong Kong-based retail supply chain giant Li & Fung Ltd. lost 2 percent.
The dollar climbed to 112.59 yen from 112.44 yen.
Gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,235.80 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $2.76 a pound.
With news emerging that the pace of the country's economy had slightly slackened in the third quarter of 2018 (ending September), analysts stated that the reason for this fluctuation in the stock market was because of the upcoming mid-term elections in the United States of America, on Tuesday, November 6th. Britain's FTSE 100 slid 0.9 percent.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index sank sharply on the open but regained some lost ground, falling 3.7 percent to 21,267.18. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was flat.