Stock markets pummelled amid fears of interest rate hike, war in Ukraine, and economic impact of Omicron variant

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      Update: Since this article was published, the markets staged an astonishing recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 99.13 points; the S&P 500 was up 12.19 points; the NASDAQ Composite Index was up 86.21 points; and the S&P/TSX Composite Index as only down 50.09 points, or 0.24 percent.

      It's been a brutal day on Wall Street and Bay Street.

      As of this writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down more than 1,000 points.

      That translates into a drop of more than three percent for the index of 30 large-cap stocks.

      The market fall has been linked to fears of a U.S. interest-rate hike, the devastating economic effects of the Omicron virus, and fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

      The broad-based S&P 500 index has dropped nearly four percent on the day and more than 10 percent since its all-time high on January 3.

      That puts it in the territory of being a market "correction".

      Things are even worse in the tech sector, with the bellwether NASDAQ Composite Index off nearly five percent.

      And that's just in the first three hours of trading.

      The S&P/TSX Composite Index hasn't been hammered quite as hard, falling 3.11 percent in today's trading. Year-to-date, it's down 5.93 percent.

      It's officially a bear market when stocks drop more than 20 percent below recent highs over a sustained period.