U.S. market losses accelerated after a mixed start Wednesday as Alcoa kicked off the third quarter reporting season on a low note.
Alcoa shares fell after announcing it lost $143 million in the third quarter, largely due to one-time charges.
Shares were also lower in Europe where German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a visit to Athens there was a "light at the end of the tunnel," referring to the Greek government's ability to reign in its runaway debt problem.
Far from reassuring, the Merkel visit was met with violent street demonstrations.
In early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 123.07 points or 0.91 percent to 13,350.46. The Nasdaq composite index shed 11.86 points or 0.39 percent to 3,053.16. The Standard and Poor's 500 index gave up 8.53 points or 0.59 percent to 1,432.95.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note rose 8/32 to yield 1.693 percent.
The euro rose to $1.2896 from Monday's $1.2885. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 78.16 yen from 78.26 yen.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index shed 1.98 percent, 173.36 points, to 8,596.23.
In London, the FTSE 100 index lost 0.58 percent, 33.54, to 5,776.71.
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