Markets dive as debt rattles investors

Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:47pm EST
 
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By Barani Krishnan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street stocks skidded on Monday, extending losses from across Europe as fears over out-of-control government debt on both sides of the Atlantic hit financial markets.

Commodity prices also fell.

Wall Street hit a month-low as the S&P 500 index .SPX fell 2.5 percent, dropping below the 1,200-point level for the first time since October.

The Dow and tech-heavy Nasdaq indices each lost nearly 3 percent, following through on last week's declines as a congressional "super committee" was expected to concede defeat in its bid to lower the U.S. deficit.

U.S. oil prices traded at around $96 barrel, down 1.3 percent, after falling 2 percent earlier.

Gold futures lost more than 2 percent, breaking below $1,700 an ounce. The precious metal is on course for an 18 percent loss on the year. <O/R> <GOL/>

Investors took refuge in safe-havens, pushing yields on benchmark 10-year U.S. bonds down to 1.95 percent from 2.01 percent on Friday. <US/>

The dollar hit a six-week high versus a currency basket .DXY but then pared some of its gains after data showed U.S. existing home sales unexpectedly rose in October as low mortgage interest rates and rising rents led more homebuyers into the market.   Continued...