NEW YORK Feb 4 U.S.-listed shares of foreign companies slumped on Monday, with the losses driven by weakness in Europe, where political uncertainty spurred investors to take profits.
A corruption scandal in Spain and polls showing Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi regaining ground ahead of elections this month triggered fresh concern over the potential hit to euro zone stability and growth.
While equities have been strong performers lately, recently closing at multi-year highs, many investors continue to worry about the global economy's growth prospects.
Bank stocks, which are closely tied to the pace of growth, were among the weakest performers on Monday. Barclays Plc dropped 2.9 percent to $18.34 while HSBC Holding was off 2 percent at $55.71. National Bank of Greece sank 4.4 percent to $1.53. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares skidded 1.4 percent.
The BNY Mellon index of leading European ADRs plunged 2.5 percent, the biggest daily drop for the index since June 21, 2012. The fall far outpaced the 1.9 percent drop in the BNY Mellon index of leading American depositary receipts , which was off 1.9 percent. The S&P 500 fell 1 percent.
The BNY Mellon index of leading Asian ADRs fell 0.8 percent. Shares in Hong Kong edged lower while Chinese stocks hit multi-month highs.
Among Asian financials, Korea's KB Financial fell 1.4 percent to $34.19 while Woori Finance was off 0.6 percent at $34.68.
The BNY Mellon index of leading Latin American ADRs fell 1.5 percent.
Among the most active ADRs, China's Sky-Mobi Ltd rose 1 percent to $1.97 after reporting earnings that beat expectations.
South Africa's Harmony Gold Mining surged 8.2 percent after reporting results and saying striking workers may return to its Kusasalethu mine as early as next week.
The Pentagon releases photographs linked to allegations of abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.