U.S. stock fall as bank worries spread to Europe; Dow down 500

Stocks are tumbling on Wall Street today as worries about the strength of banks worsen on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

The S&P 500 was 1.4% lower in early trading, while markets in Europe slumped even further as shares of Switzerland’s Credit Suisse tumbled to a record low.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq composite also fell sharply at the open.

Credit Suisse shares tanked following reports that its top shareholder won’t pump more money into the bank. Three recent bank failures in the U.S. have investors on edge, and the Credit Suisse news prompted renewed selling in bank stocks both in the U.S. and Europe.

Major European banks fell between 5% and 10%, though Switzerland’s Credit Suisse skidded nearly 25% to all-time lows. That decline comes after media reports that Saudi National Bank representatives said they could not shore up their investments in Credit Suisse, citing regulatory concerns.

Confidence in the banking system has eroded in just a matter of days following the failures of Silicon Valley Bank on Friday and Signature Bank on Sunday.

Banks have struggled for the better part of the year as higher interest rates has fewer people and businesses taking out loans, part of the Federal Reserve’s goal as it tries to cool the economy and bring down four-decade high inflation.

Investors returned to the bond market today, sending yields lower again after they recovered somewhat the previous day.

The Fed faces a dilemma over how to respond when banks already are under strain after the fastest pace of rate hikes in a decade knocked down prices of their assets.

President Joe Biden and regulators have tried to assure the public that risks are contained and deposits in other banks are safe.