NEW YORK - Global stocks tumbled Thursday as disappointing earnings, profit taking and fears a US corporate tax cut will be delayed combined to drive major indices down.
US stocks closed lower after declines in Japan, London, Frankfurt and Paris. Major tech stocks saw heavy losses: Google-parent Alphabet fell a full percentage point, Microsoft gave up 0.6 percent and Apple lost 0.4 percent.
"A combination of profit taking and perhaps the prospect that maybe some key parts of the (tax reform) bill may be delayed is what is causing this," Peter Cardillo of First Standard Financial, said of the down day on Wall Street.
Japanese stocks also finished lower, suffering a sharp reverse after earlier hitting fresh 26-year highs, while most other Asian indices also fell.
"Markets took their cue from a volatile session in Japan, where the Nikkei performed an impressive handbrake turn after hitting fresh multi-year highs," said IG analyst Chris Beauchamp in London.
"This sudden drop after the relentless gains over the past two months caught investors on the hop."
TRUMP AND TRADE WITH CHINA
China and the United States meanwhile signed more than $250 billion in business deals, including $37 billion worth of Boeing planes, as US President Donald Trump held talks with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing.
Trump criticized Beijing's "one-sided and unfair" trade surplus but said he did not blame China for the situation, instead hitting out at prior presidents "for allowing this out-of-control trade deficit to take place and to grow."
On the upside in Asia, Shanghai and Hong Kong closed higher, with traders cheering forecast-beating inflation figures from China that provided fresh hopes the huge economy is stabilizing.
In London, shares in British luxury fashion giant Burberry slumped on disappointing earnings and a costly strategy overhaul. The group's share price tumbled 9.32 percent to £18, topping London's fallers board.
In Denmark, shares in Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine manufacturer, tumbled nearly 20 percent after the Danish firm tweaked its annual outlook and its quarterly net profit slid. By late afternoon, its shares were down 19.1 percent to 426.60 kroner (57.33 euros, $66.72), in a market down 2.8 percent overall.
KEY FIGURES AROUND 2200 GMT (6 a.m. Friday in Manila)
New York - DOW: DOWN 0.4 percent at 23,461.94 points (close)
New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.4 percent at 2,584.62 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.6 percent at 6,750.05 (close)
London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.6 percent at 7,484.10 (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 1.5 percent at 13,182.56 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 1.2 percent at 5,407.75 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.1 percent at 3,612.50 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.2 percent at 23,868.71 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.8 percent at 29,136.57 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.4 at 3,427.79 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1642 from $1.1619 at 2200 GMT
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3145 from $1.3105
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 113.42 yen from 113.46 yen
Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 44 cents at $63.93 per barrel
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 36 cents at $57.17
© Agence France-Presse