Led by Citigroup Inc.'s (C) 2.2% drop, the major U.S. banks joined their European counterparts in trading down Monday on new fears about a potential bailout for Spain.
Fears about Spain's fate heightened as yields on Spanish government bonds hit their highest since the inception of the euro. If Spain is shut out of financial markets, it could require yet more help from its euro-zone peers just a month after seeking help for its banking sector.
Meanwhile, several Spanish regions said they will ask the central government for help and the Bank of Spain said the country's economy contracted in the second quarter.
The news sent markets down sharply across all of Europe, with the Euro Stoxx 50 index dropping 2.3%.
Investors sought shelter in assets that appeared safe; U.S. financial stocks weren't among them.
Citigroup declined 2.2% to $25.31, Morgan Stanley fell 1.6% to $12.59, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) dropped 1.5% to $92.72. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) dropped 1.3% to $6.98 while Wells Fargo & Co. fell 0.4% to $33.66. U.S. insurers also tumbled: American International Group Inc. (AIG) declined 3.2% to $30.03 and MetLife Inc. (MET) was off 2.5% to $28.79.
"I think some people wanted to forget about what's going on in Europe but now the negative headlines are rearing their head again," said Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at NYSE-floor broker Meridian Equity Partners. "When you have headlines that talk about global economic debt loads, everything goes in the same pot together--whether its financials, currencies, commodities."
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to a record low of 1.406%. In a German debt sale, the country was paid by investors looking to park their funds.
German bunds and U.K. gilts also rallied as investors sought safety.
Write to Erik Holm at email@example.com
Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires