AT&T was among the big decliners in the media and communications sector, dropping 7.6 percent to $30.50 after the communication giant's latest quarterly results fell short of Wall Street's expectations.
Results from S&P 500 companies have pushed up third-quarter profit growth estimates to 23.6 percent from 21.8 percent in the last 10 days.
It follows another poor lead from Wall Street overnight where the Dow Jones lost more than 600 points and the Nasdaq fell 4.4 per cent.
The Nasdaq composite entered correction territory in another down day for the stock market Wednesday, which also left the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 in the red. Its 4.4 per cent tumble on Wednesday to 7,108.40 was its biggest drop since August 2011 but it is still up 3 per cent for the year. The indexes were pulled down by Amazon, Facebook and Netflix, all of which lost more than 5 percentage points in value, while Google-parent Alphabet plummeted 4.8 percent.
For the S&P 500, a 10 percent decline could push the United States index into correction territory.
The S&P 500 slid by about 3.1 percent, erasing all of its gains for the year.
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.
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Revenue from Amazon's global business, which brings in 27.5 percent of total sales, rose 13.4 percent in the third quarter, missing estimates, and decelerating from a 27 percent year-on-year expansion in the previous quarter.
The Russell 2000 is down 51.69 points, or 3.4 percent. Technology and consumer-focused companies accounted for much of the sell-off. The British FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent, although WPP, the world's largest advertising company, said its business slowed in the third quarter and warned about weaker annual earnings.
HIGH FLYER: Boeing rose 2.3 percent to $358.03 after the defense contractor's latest quarterly results topped analysts' forecasts.
Texas Instruments, a major chipmaker, slumped 5.5 percent after its results missed forecasts.
Bond prices also rose, sapping yields, as traders sought safe-haven investments.
Wednesday was rough for all the US major indexes, especially the Nasdaq.
Investors moved to the relative safety of United States government bonds, which move inversely to yields, withthe 10-year falling 3.9 basis points to 3.077%, its lowest level in three weeks. Also in Hong Kong, airline Cathay Pacific's shares dropped as much as 6.5 per cent but ended 3.8 per cent lower after it said it had discovered a data breach affecting 9.4 million passengers. Brent crude, the benchmark for global oil prices, rose 0.9 percent to $76.89 a barrel. That, along with gains in chipmakers, helped technology stocks .SPLRCT rise 2.89 percent.
The dollar weakened to 112.44 yen from 112.47 yen on Tuesday. Heating oil added 1.2 percent to $2.28 a gallon and natural gas gained 1.1 percent to $3.20 per 1,000 cubic feet.