Stocks on Wall Street fell sharply at the start of trading Thursday, following the trend set in Asia and Europe as more disappointing economic data emerged and concerns again focused on the financial sector.
The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down 49 points, or more than 4 percent, at 1143. Major indexes in Europe were down 3 to 5 percent.
The yield on the Treasury’s 10-year note fell to a record low as investors turned to fixed income securities.
Part of the declines were “driven by the Fed’s comments regarding the state of Europe,” said Lawrence Creatura, portfolio manager at Federated Investors. “The Fed for the first time in 19 years is really quite divided in some of their voting and communications.
“Now even the Fed, who are meant to be the pilots navigating us through this turbulence, seem to be divided.”
The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 440 points, or 3.9 percent, and the Nasdaq was down about 120 points, more than 4 percent.
Bank of America was among the biggest losers, falling 7.5 percent, to $6.90 a share. Hewlett-Packard, which is scheduled to report results after the close of trading, was down more than 5 percent, at $29.67 a share.