US stocks tumbled Thursday after Dow components Cisco and Walmart spotlighted the weak economic outlook in their earnings reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 225.47 (1.47 percent) to 15,112.19.
The broad-based S&P 500 gave up 24.07 (1.43 percent) at 1,661.32, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 63.16 (1.72 percent) at 3,606.12.
Shares of information technology giant Cisco lost 7.2 percent after it reported a "softening" outlook in emerging economies and announced it would cut 4,000 jobs.
Walmart meanwhile released disappointing earnings and slashed its 2013 forecast citing weak consumer spending in the US and foreign markets.That sent it shares tumbling 2.6 percent.
At the same time, a strong improvement in weekly unemployment insurance claims suggested a tightening of the jobs market, adding to expectations that the Federal Reserve will beging tapering its bond-buying stimulus program soon.
Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, said Thursday's data "led people to increase their odds of the Fed reducing purchases in September," prompting a rise in bond yields that unnerved equity markets.
Other tech companies followed Cisco lower, including Microsoft ( -1.7 percent), Hewlett-Packard ( -4.5 percent) and Yahoo ( -3.2 percent).
Another tech-sector Dow component, Intel, fell 2.4 percent after RW Baird downgraded the company. The Baird note cited Intel's heavy leverage to the declining personal computer market, among other factors, according to Barron's.
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, lost 2.6 percent on the day. Fellow retailer and Dow component Home Depot fell 3.0 percent.
Kohl's, another retailer, rose 5.3 percent after reporting earnings of $1.04 per share, one penny shy of expectations. The company also trimmed its full-year profit forecast.
Cosmetic giant Estee Lauder jumped 3.4 percent after reporting earnings of $94 million, 84 percent above last-year's level. Full-year and quarterly profits also bested analyst expectations, in part due to strong results in its skin-care products.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.76 percent from 2.71 percent after getting as high as 2.82 percent, while the 30-year increased to 3.79 percent from 3.75 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.