US shares extended losses today and posted their worst monthly performance since September amid concerns about the strength of the US economy and fears the Spanish banking crisis could drag Europe into recession.
The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index closed at 1,310.33 for a monthly loss of 6.3 percent, its largest percentage drop since September, according to Reuters.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 6.2 percent over the month to close at 12,393.45 and the Nasdaq lost 7.2 percent to finish at 2,827.34 – the biggest monthly declines in two years.
"It's just an awful close to an awful month," Mark Lehmann, president of JMP Securities, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying.
"You just got more of the same, unfortunately, which is softer data, soft markets, commodities weaker.
A batch of disappointing US economic data released today rattled investors’ nerves. The government downgraded first-quarter economic growth to 1.9 percent from 2.2 percent and jobless claims rose to a five-week high, fueling fears that the world's largest economy was not growing as fast as many thought.
This added to fears that Spain’s escalating financial crisis could spread to the rest of the region and lead to a Europe-wide recession.
US shares trimmed losses in the afternoon session after a new Greek poll indicated pro-bailout New Democracy party was leading anti-austerity Syriza party ahead of the June 17 election, Bloomberg said.