A weak German bond sale sparked fears the debt crisis was even beginning to threaten Berlin, with the leaders of France and Germany still at odds over a longer-term structural solution.
The poor demand for German government bonds showed that investors viewed investing in the Eurozone as being too risky.
Debt problems plaguing Europe and the United States have pressured markets, knocking the S&P 500 down more than seven per cent over the last six sessions. World stocks hit their lowest in six weeks yesterday.
All 10 S&P 500 sectors were negative, with financials among the biggest decliners over concerns about exposure to European debt. JPMorgan Chase & Co dropped 3.5 per cent to $28.38 and Citigroup lost 3.9 per cent to $23.51.
The Dow Jones industrial average sank 236.17 points, or 2.05 per cent, to 11,257.55 at the close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 26.25 points, or 2.21 per cent, to 1,161.79. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 61.20 points, or 2.43 per cent, to 2,460.08.