The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has been hammered this morning, falling 72 points or 1.4% at one stage, and adding to yesterday’s 1% decline. The main bourse is now sitting at 4,935 points a loss of 1.1% and down from a high of 5,073 on Monday.

While a rebounding oil price has provided the ASX with some much-needed energy over the last fortnight or so, its sharp reversal is again causing investors to panic. The commodity fell another 3.6% overnight to less than US$33 a barrel amid concerns of an ongoing supply glut and falling Chinese demand (which is nothing new).

As has become almost expected, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) is leading the charge lower with its shares down 4.1% early in the session. Woodside Petroleum Limited’s (ASX: WPL) shares have also dropped 2% while Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) and Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) have dropped 4.5% and 5.7%, respectively.

All four major banks have also shed more than 1% today, with National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) sold off the most, down 4.7%, while Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) shares have fallen 0.5%.

Following a much-needed relief rally, investors had become hopeful that the volatility may finally subside and that it was all uphill from here. Unfortunately, global share markets could remain volatile for some time, and that could be enough to scare some investors away.

In saying that, however, the volatility also presents long-term investors with some fantastic buying opportunities. It’s impossible to know when the market will return to higher levels, but in the meantime, investors can load up on a number of high-quality businesses trading at discounted prices.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.