Stocks opened lower Monday amid heightened concerns that Greece is not doing enough to avoid default grow and as European banks hit their lowest level since March 2009.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell at the open, led by JPMorgan and Caterpillar after closing firmly in the redlast week.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also tumbled. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded above 42.
All 10 S&P sectors were lower, led by energy and industrials.
With no major economic data or earnings report due in the U.S., the focus is likely to remain on developments in Europe.
European shareshit a 26-month low on Monday. French banks, which are particularly exposed to sovereign peripheral debt, fared the worst.
Theresignation of the European Central Bank’s chief economist Juergen Starkon Friday also undermined confidence, with speculation rife that his departure will further complicate the response to the debt crisis.
In the UK, along-awaited reportby the Independent Commission on Banking said that British banks should ring-fence their retail operations from riskier investment banking units.
The European banks' selloff also dragged U.S. financials lower. Shares of Bank of America , Citigroup both fell almost 4 percent.
In addition, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said the U.S. should consider pullion out of the Basel group of global regulators, calling the new capital rules as "anti-American," in an interview with the Financial Times.
Meanwhile, widely-followed banking analyst Dick Bove of Rochdale Securities said fears of a possible impact of a European debt crisis on U.S. banks were overblown, with only Citigroupand JPMorgan having a significant exposure to the crisis.
Yahoo's former CEO Carol Bartz resigned from the company's board of directors over the weekend. The news comes shortly after Bartz was fired as CEO last week.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that Amazon.com is in talks with book publishers about launching a media library service similar to Netflix for tablets and other digital books.
Meanwhile, Berkshire Hathaway named Ted Weschler as its second investment manager.
On the M&A front, NetLogic Microsystems surged almost 50 percent after Broadcom agreed to acquire the chipmaker for about $3.7 billion.
And French group will buy U.S. underwater oil services specialist Global Industries for $937 million.
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo slashed its year-end target on the S&P 500 to 1,250 from 1,390, while BofA-Merrill raised its 12-month S&P 500 target to 1,450.
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Coming Up This Week:
MONDAY: 3-Yr note auction, Fed's Fisher speaks
TUESDAY: NFIB small biz optimism index, import & export prices, 10-yr note auction, Samsung/MSFT tablet unveiled; Earnings from Best Buy
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, PPI, retail sales, business inventories, oil inventories, 30-yr bond auction, Microsoft analyst meeting
THURSDAY: CPI, Empire state mfg survey, jobless claims, current account, industrial production, Philadelphia Fed survey, credit card default rates reported; Earnings from Pier 1, Research In Motion
FRIDAY: Treasury international capital, consumer sentiment, quadruple witching
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