Investors fleeing carnage in the stock market Monday bid up the price of gold to a record $1,710.20 per Troy ounce.

The gain of $61.40 for August delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange plus massive stock market losses reflected widespread investor capitulation to a host of negatives on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

The S&P 500 index of large stocks posted its fourth-worst point loss ever, tumbling 6.65 percent, or 80 points, its 10th worst percentage loss of all time. It closed at 1,119.46.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its sixth-worst loss ever, dropping 634 points in the first day of trading after S&P's downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt to close below the psychologically significant level of 11,000.  The 5.5 percent drop left the blue chip index at 10,809.85.

On an absolute points-basis, it was the Dow's worst day since Oct, 9, 2008, when it fell 679 points, soon after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost nearly 7 percent to end the session at 2,357.69.

Amid the losses on Monday, S&P also downgraded the credit ratings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, farm lenders, long-term U.S. government-backed debt issued by 32 banks and credit unions and three major clearinghouses used to execute trades of stocks, bonds and options.

Besides the S&P downgrades on Friday and Monday, investors have been spooked by the size of the U.S. national debt, and the perception that the Eurozone appears unable to limit the fallout from the Greek debt crisis. Over the weekend ECB officials sought commitments from European fiscal and monetary leaders to buy Italian and Spanish bonds in the face of those nations' heavy debt.