Equity markets have lost further ground and gold has set a record high amid fears of a possible United States slide into recession and concerns over Europe's debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 1.57%, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 1.50% and the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 38.59 points, or 1.62%.
The S&P index has shed 13.1% so far in August.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index closed down 1.7% as European shares flirted with two year lows.
US gold futures for December delivery settled up $30.20 at $US1,852.20 an ounce.
Commodity prices rebounded after the US dollar plumbed a record low against the yen.
A short time ago, the New Zealand dollar was buying 81.7 US cents.