All three main indexes on Wall Street ended more than one percent down.
And while Asia fared better, traders remain cautious. Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney, Taipei, Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok all fell, though there were gains in Shanghai, Mumbai, Seoul, Wellington and Manila.
London and Frankfurt opened in the red but Paris edged up.
The need for a stimulus is increasing as figures show fresh infections across the US, fuelling concerns about the reimposition of economically damaging containment measures.
That comes as numerous European countries have been forced to put new targeted lockdowns in place as they struggle to contain a second wave.
Investors are also keeping tabs on post-Brexit trade talks, with Britain welcoming signals that the European Union was ready to intensify them but saying its commitments did not yet go far enough to restart face-to-face negotiations.
Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost said he held a “constructive discussion” with EU counterpart Michel Barnier, but added on Twitter that the bloc “still needs to make a fundamental change in approach to the talks and make clear it has done so”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman warned: “The UK continues to believe there is no basis to resume talks unless there is a fundamental change of approach from the EU.”
Johnson has said he is willing to walk away without an agreement if Britain does not get what it wants.