Specialist Justin Bohan holds his head as he works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday Oct. 9, 2008. Stocks plunged in the final minutes of trading Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrials down more than 675 points, or more than 7 percent, to their lowest level in five years after a major credit ratings agency said it was considering cutting its rating on General Motors Corp. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks slid deep into the red Wednesday, ending down more than 2%, as eurozone fears rumbled on and a preliminary report showed that Chinese manufacturing slowed sharply.
A lackluster report on the U.S. job market added to the gloomy mood on Wall Street.
"You have a trifecta here -- people may or may not be overreacting, but these are the things they are worrying about" said Tim Ralph, vice president at Biltmore Capital Advisors. "When you look at the U.S., you can see some signs of strength, but we're going to continue to be shocked by the headlines from overseas."
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) dropped 236 points, or 2.1%. The selling was broad, with all 30 components of the blue chip index losing ground.
Bank of America was the biggest loser on the Dow, with shares sliding more than 4% and hitting their lowest level since March 2009, after a report in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday stated the bank was having difficulty meeting U.S. financial regulatory requirements.
Bank of America's credit default swaps, which are essentially insurance policies against insolvency, traded at a record high of 456 basis points Wednesday, according to data from Markit. The previous record hit in early October.
The S&P 500 dropped 26 points, or 2.2%, and the Nasdaq lost 61 points, or 2.4%.
Investors were rattled by a disappointing auction of German bonds. The debt of Europe's largest and most healthy economy is often considered the gold standard of eurozone sovereign debt, and yields have managed to hold near record lows. But the dismal auction results raise concerns.
"The poor German auction plays to the grain that foreign investors are shying away from [eurozone] denominated bonds all together," BNP Paribas said in a research note. "There are growing signs that the contagion from peripheral bond markets is moving to the core."