US stocks tank on eurozone fears, oil rout

The statue of former US President George Washington seems to wave bye-bye to last year's bull market as it stands at the Federal Hall National Memorial on Wall Street across from the New York Stock Exchange which plunged more than 300 points on Monda
The statue of former US President George Washington seems to wave bye-bye to last year's bull market as it stands at the Federal Hall National Memorial on Wall Street across from the New York Stock Exchange which plunged more than 300 points on Monday. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks Monday tanked on worries about the eurozone and low oil prices as the euro hit a nine-year low against the dollar and US crude slid below US$50 (S$66.77) a barrel.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,508.62, down 324.37 points (1.82 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 37.12 (1.80 per cent) to 2,021.08, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index sank 74.24 (1.57 per cent) to 4,652.57.

US equity markets took their cue from hard-hit European bourses that plummeted on revived eurozone fears.

Greek stocks sank more than five per cent, while the Paris, Madrid and Milan exchanges fell more than three per cent as markets fixated on a January 25 election in Greece.

Over the weekend, the Der Spiegel weekly quoted German government sources as saying that Berlin sees a Greek exit from the eurozone as "almost inevitable" should the left-wing Syriza party win the snap poll.

US oil prices finished at US$50.04 a barrel, down five per cent after sliding below US$50 a barrel earlier.

"Lower oil prices are usually positive for the economy in the long term, but here the drop has been very rapid," said Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeschaert Capital Markets.

"That's been a source of anxiety for markets."