US markets tumble on Eurozone fears: Here's what has traders scared

Peter Spence
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Problems at Portugal's biggest bank have reignited fears over the health of Eurozone banks (Source: Getty)

US stockmarkets have opened deep in the red this afternoon, on fears that one of Portugal's biggest banks is in a bad state.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has opened 150 points lower, down close to 0.9 per cent, on fears that Banco Espirito Santo (BES) isn't healthy.

Shares in the lender were suspended earlier, after falling more than 16 per cent.

The controlling shareholder of the bank cited "ongoing material difficulties" as reason for the suspension of shares in its parent company, Espirito Santo Financial Group.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says that BES is the "most important even right now" for European equities. "Investors are dumping the shares and bonds of the Portuguese lender on the news that its parent company has missed a debt payment," says Garnry.

Other bank shares have been affected as traders get nervous about the health of BES' peers. The S&P500 and Nasdaq, also key US indices, also opened lower as trading began across the Atlantic, following losses on European bourses.

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