Investor nervousness pushed European stock markets lower for a third day on Monday, causing gold to reach a record high.
Bullion climbed to more than US$1600 (€1140) an ounce as worries about the deficits of several European countries continued to escalate.
As the Euro crisis swung towards Italy and Spain, Milan’s stock exchange closed down more than 3 per cent. Spanish and Italian bond yields reached record highs.
The Swiss-Franc climbed to a new high against the Euro.
Analysts were also unconvinced by the results of stress tests on 90 European banks. Eight institutions failed the financial healthcheck, with five of them in Spain.
Another 16 banks only just passed the tests. The European Banking Authority called on those institutions to strengthen their reserves.
Investors also remained jumpy ahead of Thursday’s summit of Eurozone finance ministers who are expected to agree a second bailout for Greece.
Athens needs another 110 billion euros to keep paying its bills.