U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Thursday, tracking European shares, after soft data from Italy and as investors worried about one of Portugal’s top banks.
“We used to have a Europe crisis every two weeks, now we have one every nine months,” said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.
Investors sought safety in U.S. Treasuries and gold, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note falling 4 basis points to 2.512 percent and gold futures jumped $17.40, or 1.3 percent, to $1,341.70 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, a measure of investor uncertainty, jumped more than a point, or 13.2 percent, to 12.66.
In Europe, stocks from the euro-zone’s periphery led declines, with Portuguese bonds stumbled amid concerns about the health of the financial group Banco Espirito Santo.
Also weighing on sentiment was a report showing Italian industrial output down 1.2 percent in May from the prior month, its largest monthly drop since late 2012, fueling concern for that nation’s economy.