Falling oil prices continue to weigh on global equity markets. On Tuesday, the commodity hit a near six-year low, extending losses after trading lower for seven straight weeks.
Meanwhile, copper prices also hit an five-year-plus low as investment in commodities falls.
Copper mining companies saw heavy selling on Wednesday with Antofagasta, Glencore and Boliden all down by over 8 percent. Glencore hit a a record low in early afternoon trade, with its stock down by as much as 12 percent, before paring gains to close around 9 percent lower.
"An overnight slump in copper prices has spurred fears that it is a lack of demand—the bad kind of deflation that has the potential to spiral downwards," Marius Paun and Jonathan Sudaria, two dealers at Capital Spreads, said in a morning note.
U.S. stocks fell sharply on Wednesday, continuing losses into a fourth day, as a thrashing of commodities and disappointing retail sales increased worry that the global economy is slowing.
JPMorgan Chase dropped in early New York trading after reporting a decline in fourth-quarter profit; Wells Fargo also fell after it posted results in line with expectations.