International markets were hammered during Friday’s session, resulting in one of the biggest single-day losses on Wall Street in months. The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is expected to follow, with the Sydney Futures Exchange pointing to a 1.6% decline at the opening bell.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • FTSE 100 (UK): down 1.19%
  • DAX (Germany): down 0.95%
  • CAC 40 (France): down 1.12%
  • Dow Jones (USA): down 2.13%
  • NASDAQ (USA): down 2.54%

The heavy falls experienced by international markets on Friday appear to have been caused by comments from a Federal Reserve official suggesting that interest rates in the United States need to move higher sooner, rather than later.

The Australian dollar has also plunged on the comments. It’s fetching US75.35 cents, down from around US77 cents recently.

Given the market is expected to fall so heavily today, companies such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) may come under pressure. They account for a large portion of the ASX 200 index.

Energy shares could be on the chopping block today after the oil price was slammed 4%. That doesn’t bode well for companies such as Santos Ltd (ASX: STO), Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) or Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL).

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) could also be impacted with iron ore also trading lower.

Meanwhile, the gold price has also come off the boil with one ounce now fetching US$1,327 – down from around US$1,350 last week. That could weigh on St Barbara Ltd (ASX: SBM) and Silver Lake Resources Limited. (ASX: SLR).

Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) shares fell sharply late last week, and could be in focus again today. While part of the sell-off can be attributed to the shares trading ex-dividend, investors also appear frustrated with the ongoing battle to escape the hardware industry (due to potential delays in selling its Masters business).

As indicated by The Australian Financial Review, the pending closure of Masters could also impact businesses such as DuluxGroup Limited (ASX: DLX) in the short-term. The shares have retreated over the last fortnight or so.

It’s worth watching shares of Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited (ASX: SIP) and South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) today. The pair soared 20.6% and 12.2% last week, respectively, so investors will hope for further gains today.

Finally, it’s worth noting that although the market is expected to fall today, it’s important that investors do not panic. Markets rise and fall like clockwork, and those who panic tend to be the ones who suffer for it in the long run.

Volatility comes and goes, so stay focused on the bigger picture. And keep your eye out for great buying opportunities while you’re at it!

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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.