US stocks tumble as euro hits nine-year low

US stocks tumbled in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street on Monday as renewed concerns about the eurozone sent the euro to a nine-year low. -- PHOTO: AFP 
US stocks tumbled in early trade on the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street on Monday as renewed concerns about the eurozone sent the euro to a nine-year low. -- PHOTO: AFP 

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks tumbled in early trade Monday as renewed concerns about the eurozone sent the euro to a nine-year low.

About 35 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,655.68, down 177.31 points (0.88 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 sank 22.15 (1.08 per cent) to 2,036.05, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 39.59 (0.84 per cent) to 4,687.23.

Equity markets in Britain, France and Germany were all off at least 1.4 per cent as traders looked ahead to a January 25 election in Greece. The far-left Syriza party, a critic of austerity policies imposed in international bailouts, has led by three-six points in polls.

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 Syriza win the snap poll.

The euro also fell on speculation the European Central Bank could soon enact more stimulus to try to lift the weak 19-nation eurozone economy.

Oil prices retreated again early Monday, unsettling markets on the "possibility that there could be some latent financial, or economic, risk in the plummeting price of" crude, said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

Petroleum-related stocks suffered a pullback. Marathon Oil fell 3.4 per cent, drilling company Transocean sank 5.9 per cent and oil-services giant Schlumberger dropped 2.8 per cent.

Dow member Caterpillar fell 3.9 per cent after JPMorgan Chase lowered its recommendation on the company. Oil company Chevron shed 2.7 percent on a downgrade by Citigroup.

Dow member Coca-Cola rose 0.4 percent following an upgrade from Morgan Stanley, which predicted the soft drinks maker's sales and profit margins would rise in 2015.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.08 per cent from 2.12 percent Friday, while the 30-year declined to 2.65 per cent from 2.70 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.