Earlier in the day, Tokyo shares fell 1.6 percent to a new 12-year low. Blue chips in London sank 3.1 percent to close at new lows for the year, while the key index in Frankfurt, Germany, closed down 5.5 percent and the main indicator in Paris was off 5 percent.
All this turmoil comes just two days after the Federal Reserve Board cut short-term interest rates by one-quarter of a point in an attempt to thwart a global economic crisis.
Even U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin took the opportunity Thursday to comment on the plunging markets.
"Just as there was a herd mentality on the way in, I believe there is a herd mentality with respect to the withdrawal of capital not only from emerging markets but from many asset classes," Rubin told Reuters.
The herd definitely rumbled out of the technology arena as the Nasdaq suffered its third-largest, one-day loss in history.
In fact, all of the 30 stocks regularly followed by Inter@ctive Investor finished in the red.
Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN) tumbled 9 to 102 5/8 while Excite Inc. (Nasdaq:XCIT) and Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq:LCOS) plunged 5 1/4 and 4 1/8 a share, respectively. Infoseek Corp. (Nasdaq:SEEK) dropped 2 1/8 to 22 1/2 and Netscape Communications Corp. (Nasdaq:NSCP) sank 1 7/16 to 20 7/16.
Among widely held PC stocks, Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq:DELL) plunged 4 3/16 to 61 9/16; Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE:CPQ) shed 1 5/8 to 30; Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) lost 2 7/16 to 35 11/16 and Gateway Inc. (NYSE:GTW) sank 2 11/16 to 49 5/8.
Reuters contributed to this report.