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Wall Street woes: US stocks tumble at opening as Europe plunges

U.S. equities kicked off Thursday sharply lower as investors digested a massive global sell-off, while oil prices fell further.
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, Feb. 8, 2016. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/Getty)
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, Feb. 8, 2016. 

U.S. equities fell sharply Thursday as investors digested a massive global sell-off and oil prices fell further.

"The Chinese H share index didn't wait until the mainland opening on Monday and closed overnight with a near 5 percent drop to a level last seen in March 16th 2009," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said in a note.

Trading in mainland China is closed this week due to the Lunar New Year Holiday.

The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 3.34 percent as banks in the region plunged, with Deutsche Bank dropping 5.7 percent and UBS falling 3.5 percent. On Wednesday, European banks soared, momentarily halting a massive plunge.

European markets were also surprised by the Swedish central bank cutting rates further into negative territory.

"I'll say this again, the arbitrary desire on the part of the Fed, ECB, BoJ, BoE, Riksbank, and SNB for 2% inflation has truly wrecked havoc on the global economy and has lit major financial instability," Boockvar said.

The sell-off in global equities sent traditional safe havens surging.

Gold futures for April delivery gained $54.20 to trade at $1,248.80, while U.S. 10-year note yields traded at 1.57 percent. The benchmark note yield also went below 1.55 percent momentarily.

This is a developing story. Please refresh for updates. 

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