Worries about China's slowing growth, further steep drops in oil prices sparked, and a disappointing report on U.S. retail sales contributed to a global stock selloff on Friday.
The cost of a barrel of oil slid to around $29. Analysts say oil supplies already outstrip demand, and Iran is preparing to sell more crude as sanctions that have crimped its industry are lifted.
In New York, the S&P 500 fell nearly 2.2 percent at the close, the Dow was off 2.4 percent and the NASDAQ plunged 3.1 percent.
London’s FTSE lost nearly two percent, and Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC were off about 2.4 percent or more.
Earlier Friday, key Asian markets fell sharply. Shanghai stocks dropped 3.5 percent to end at their lowest level in more than a year. Markets in Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong also closed down more than one percent.
The slump comes after Chinese authorities reported weaker-than-expected loan data, adding to worries about the world's second largest economy.
Chinese stocks have fluctuated wildly for months, despite efforts by Beijing to prop up the market.