As had been anticipated all weekend, global markets headed sharply lower Monday following S&P's downgrade of the U.S. credit rating late Friday.
But the U.S. Treasury market was not damaged by the news. Yields on the 10-year were down, at 2.485%, early Monday.
Despite statements from the G-20 and G-7 groups of nations that they would take any necessary steps to address the worldwide concerns, investors sold off equities anyway.
Wall Street futures pointed to a significantly lower open Monday, even as numerous analysts and investors, including Warren Buffett, criticized the S&P decision and expressed confidence in the U.S.' ability to pay its debt.
Asian markets finished Monday's session with heavy losses, adding more bad news to last week's poor results.
European worries also weighed on traders. On Sunday night, the European Central Bank said it would step in to the bond markets to support Spain and Italy, in an effort to avoid total financial chaos in the eurozone. The ECB had previously said it would not make such a move. But as interest rates continued to rise, particularly in Italy, central bank intervention appeared to be the only option for bolstering financial stability.
Spanish and Italian banks were moving higher amid a larger market selloff in Europe.
But overall, the S&P downgrade in the U.S. outweighed any positive sentiment about the ECB's bond buying. On another day, the ECB's action may have had a positive impact on worldwide trading.
Both the dollar and the euro were trading lower Monday.
Gold, the traditional safe haven amid economic and equity-market concerns, rocketed $53.20 to $1,705 per ounce early Monday.
Goldman Sachs boosted its gold and silver price forecasts, citing an increased risk of recession in the U.S. in the next six months.
Crude oil headed south as investors expected lower demand in a slower global economy. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped $3.51 to $83.37 per barrel.
Though they're unlikely to be big market drivers today, but there are some earnings reports due out.
Tyson Foods (TSN) said third-quarter earnings were $0.51 per share, and revenue was $8.2 billion.
Analysts had expected per-share net income of $0.41 on revenue of $8.29 billion. The company said its earnings results included five-cent per share reduction in its income tax expense. It also said it expected an operating loss in its chicken-processing unit in the fourth quarter because of higher input costs.
After the bell, MGM Resorts (MGM) is expected to report a second-quarter loss of $0.13 on revenue of $1.59 billion. The company has reported losses in the past six quarters. Revenue has grown at low single-digit rates in the past four quarters. If the company meets revenue views, it will be another small year-over-year increase.
Also reporting after today's close is discount retailer 99 Cents Only (NDN). Wall Street expects first-quarter earnings to come in at $0.27 per share on sales of $365.29 million.
The company's rate of earnings growth has slowed in each of the past four quarters.
Not everything was trading lower before Monday's open. S&P 500 component Harris Corp. (HRS) advanced $0.81, 2.21%, to $37.51 in premarket trading. Last week the maker of military communications gear said second-quarter revenue beat Wall Street views.
Going into Monday's open, the stock was down 17% year-to-date.
Analyst actions Monday morning included a SunTrust downgrade of F5 Networks (FFIV) to Neutral from Buy. SunTrust cited the U.S. credit rating downgrade in its action, saying F5's customers may cut their spending in light of the move. SunTrust also said a slowing U.S. economy would put a dent in sales of the company's network optimization products.
F5 shares slumped $2.13 in the premarket, a loss of 2.57%, to $80.81. Shares are already down 36.28% so far this year.