Shares on Wall Street opened lower on Monday, extending losses from across Europe as fears about out-of-control government debt on both sides of the Atlantic hit financial markets.
U.S. stock indexes fell almost 2 percent in early trading, following through with declines from last week, as a congressional super committee was expected to concede defeat in its bid to lower the deficit.
It isn't just the failure of the committee that's causing investors to shun risk around the world, although I thought we would get some kind of last-minute deal, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
Between the continued concerns about Europe, especially France now, and the comments out of China, there are just so many ongoing problems.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 213.28 points, or 1.81 percent, at 11,582.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was down 23.59 points, or 1.94 percent, at 1,192.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was down 52.05 points, or 2.02 percent, at 2,520.45.
The S&P 500 index slipped below 1,200 points for the first time since October 20.
Investors took refuge in safe-havens, pushing up U.S. 30-year bonds up more than a point in early dealings. The dollar hit a six-week high versus a currency basket.
Light trading volumes, expected throughout the week for the Thursday U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, could add to market volatility, traders said. .N
In Europe, stocks hit 6-week lows as Moody's warned about France's rating outlook and Spanish yields rose amid elections for a new government.
World stocks as measured by MSCI .MIWD00000PUS were down 1.8 percent for a 12 percent year-to-date loss. More volatile emerging market stocks .MSCIEF lost 2.4 percent.
In Europe -- the heart of the debt storm -- the FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index tumbled 2.3 percent and was sitting more than 17 percent lower for the year.