Gold soared to a record Thursday as the stock market plummeted on concerns that European banking woes could spread to the United States.
Gold for December delivery on the CME Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the most actively traded contract, jumped $29.10 to $1,822.90 per ounce in late morning action.
The S&P 500 index of large company stocks dropped 59.37, or 4.9 percent, to 1,135.52, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index plunged 5.2 percent to 2,381.05.
The selloff "is rooted in the European banking system," Jack de Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp in Portsmouth, N.H., told Reuters.
"It reflects continued concern that sovereign debt issues indicate we're going to have to bail out all those banks again. And if there's stress in major European banks, it will affect U.S. banks too," he said.
Besides European banks facing the possibility of massive losses because of their exposure to the euro zone's weakest members, U.S. economic news weighed on equities. The consumer price index last month rose 0.5 percent, more than the 0.2 analysts had expected. The number of jobless claims last week jumped to 408,000 from the previous week's 395,000. Analysts had expected 400,000.
The reports reinforced the perception that the U.S. economy continues to bump along the bottom and suggested that inflation may be on the upswing.