The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also declined sharply, on pace to log their sixth losing session. The S&P has fallen more than 5 percent in the last five sessions. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded above 33.
All 10 S&P sectors were in negative territory, led by energy and financials. “You’ve had decent earnings throughout the season and retail numbers were good, but the European crisis has trumped everything,” said Joe Bell, senior equity analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research. “In the short-term, there’s low volume so you can get increased volatility…it could be a good time to buy volatility.”
Stocks were further pressured after EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said public finances are “deeply under stress” in the region.