The major stocks indexes plunged in the first hour of trading, attempted an afternoon comeback, but ended Monday sharply lower.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average ended the trading day 125.33 lower, or 0.98 percent, to 12,695.27. The S&P 500 finished down 15.03, or 1.11 percent, to 1,388.36. The Nasdaq dipped 31.24, or 1.06 percent, to 2,902.58.
The Dow has closed down eight of the last nine days.
The S&P fell for the seventh in nine days. It closed below the 1,340 mark for the first time since early February. Some analysts believe sustained trading at that mark could signal a broader decline is about to begin.
Banks stocks led the declines. International news seemed to weigh on the markets.
Greek President Karolos Papoulias received little enthusiasm from political leaders on Monday to avert new elections, reinforcing fears the country was on the path to bankruptcy and an exit from the euro zone. The consequences of such an event are unknown.
“There's still great uncertainty with how Europe will react if Greece exits, as well as concerns about liquidity and the impact of recession there on the U.S. economy," Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Delta Global Asset Management in Boston, told Reuters.
Concerns about a slowdown in China have been troubling investors for several months. The decision of the world's second-largest economy on Saturday to cut the amount of cash banks must hold as reserves, normally seen as a pro-growth move, suggested the country may be facing more significant headwinds.
Mark Yockey of Artisan International Fund, shares his perspective with CBNC on where to invest in Europe and what would happen if Greece were to leave the euro zone.
Reuters contributed to this report.