Despite the sea of red in global stock markets, there are hopes that the retreat won't last long given that global economic growth has picked up and the financial system is more robust since the financial crisis. Numerous companies that rose the most over the past year have borne the brunt of the selling.
But the weeklong rout marks a stark turnabout in investors' mood from just two weeks ago, when indexes set their latest record highs. Employers are hiring at a healthy pace, with unemployment at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.
By comparison, it usually takes stocks more than two years to bounce back from bear market and almost six years to recoup all the losses from a "mega bear", like the 2007-2009 downturn amid the financial crisis and the 2000-2002 tech wreck.
Stocks in Europe declined and bond yields increased after the Bank of England said could raise interest rates in coming months because of the strong global economy.
Sharp drops on Friday and Monday erased the gains the Dow and S&P 500 made this year.
Investors fear the rapid rise in Treasury yields this year could signal inflation and faster rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
The global sell-off began last week after a solid U.S. jobs report fuelled expectations that the Federal Reserve would need to raise interest rates faster than expected, because of the strength of the economy.
Since January 26, the S&P 500 has lost $2.49 trillion in market value, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 slid 3.2 percent to 5,833.30 and South Korea's Kospi declined 1.5 percent to 2,453.31.
And after the selling was over, it took a shorter-than-average 20 months for the stock market to recoup all its losses.
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Thursday's decline followed the largest drop in the Dow's history on Monday when it fell 1,175 points or 4.6 percent.
The losses were broad. Futures markets suggested another, but more moderate drop, in the USA, with the Dow and S&P 500 futures down 0.8 percent and 0.2 percent.
The bull market has feasted on extremely low bond rates.
On Thursday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note again ticked up to a recent four-year high of 2.88%, sparking fears that rates could quickly top the key 3% level. Those stocks are often seen as substitutes for bonds because they tend not to fluctuate that much in price and provide steady income.
The market finally began to come down to earth - just a bit - and investors wonder whether this is a much-needed correction or the beginning of a bear market. The yield on the 10-year note was as low as 2.04 percent as recently as September.
USA stocks fell to two-month lows after a nine-day swoon wiped out nearly 9 percent in the S&P 500. That's also a big change: The market has been stable in the previous year because every time it inched lower, investors swooped in looking for bargains and soon sent them higher again. The company also said it will pay $400 million to buy Australian retailer Bras N Things. European indexes were down about 2 percent, while Japan's Nikkei lost 4.7 percent.
IRobot, which makes Roomba vacuums, plummeted 31 percent after projected a smaller annual profit than Wall Street was expecting. The stock dropped $28.24 to $59.80.
Twitter had a banner day, soaring 12 percent after turning in a profit for the first time. Its fourth-quarter revenue was also better than expected.