Texas Instruments, the second-largest U.S. semiconductor maker, declined 6.3 percent, while Sun Microsystems Inc. retreated 17 percent after reporting a loss and posting revenue that fell short of consensus projections. Freeport-McMoRan, the largest publicly traded copper producer, slumped 11 percent. Western Union Co. tumbled 18 percent after the world's biggest money-transfer business withdrew long-term profit targets because of uncertain global markets.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 30.35 points, or 3.1 percent, to 955.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 231.77, or 2.5 percent, to 9,033.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 73.35, or 4.1 percent, to 1,696.68. More than five stocks fell for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.
Canadian stocks snapped a two-day rally as commodity producers slid on speculation that slowing growth will curb demand and financial shares fell on concern they face further credit losses. The Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index fell 3.4 percent to 9,904.09 at 3:36 p.m. in Toronto after rising 11 percent over the previous two days on higher oil and lower borrowing costs.
Brazilian stocks fell the most in three days, led by steelmakers and retailers, as UBS AG cut its earnings estimates for the country's biggest merchants and metal prices tumbled on the economic slowdown. The Bovespa index fell 1.03 percent to 39,033.20.
U.K. stocks declined as easing liquidity concerns were not enough to keep equity markets afloat and on drugs companies declined. The FTSE 100 Index lost 52.94, or 1.24 percent. German stocks also felt. Frankfurt DAX Index lost 50.6 or 1.05 percent.
Japan stocks climbed a third day on speculation stimulus plans will jump-start economic growth in the U.S. and at home, and as a rise in oil boosted resource shares. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped 300.66, or 3.3 percent, to close at 9,306.25 in Tokyo, bringing its three-day gain to 10 percent.
Australia's benchmark stock index S&P/ASX 200 gained 160.2 points, or 3.87 percent, to 4,302.50.
India's benchmark stock index rose the most in more than a week on government efforts to unlock credit markets seized up by a tightening of global funds. The Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensitive Index, or Sensex, rose 460.30, or 4.5 percent, to 10,683.39, its biggest gain since Oct. 13.
China's stocks fell, driving the benchmark index to its first loss in three days, as financial companies and steelmakers declined on concern slowing economic growth will hurt profits. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated shares traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen, fell 15.33, or 0.8 percent, to 1,881.41 at the close, giving up a gain of as much as 1.7 percent.
Russia's benchmark stock index, the Micex Index, rose 4.24 percent to 652.97.