The blue chips shed as much as 600 points, and nearly every S&P 500 component was deep in the red, as economic and global sovereign debt fears pummeled Wall Street. Meanwhile, gold spiked nearly 4%, and Treasury bonds rallied as traders sought out safe havens.

Volatility has been extremely high in recent trading sessions. The selloff over the past two weeks has been so furious in fact that “its force now rivals almost anything we’ve seen in the post war era,” according to Daniel Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. The VIX, often referred to as a fear gauge, surged 32% to a 52-week high.

Financial shares like Dow-component Bank of America (BAC: 6.63, -1.54, -18.86%) and Citigroup (C: 27.65, -5.79, -17.31%) took the biggest hit. The cost to insure the debt of major banking institutions skyrocketed as concerns spread that the institutions may need to seek fresh capital.

However, every major sector took deep losses. In fact, 98% of the volume on the New York Stock exchange was in declining shares.

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