NBC News — European financial markets were slammed tuesday by fears that Italy and Spain would be dragged into the continent's ongoing debt crisis. Stock futures fell for the third straight day as investors weigh the prospect that Italy, Europe's third largest economy, could be the next country unable to meet its debt obligations. In Italy, stocks, the Euro and government bonds tumbled, with the Milan exchange down four percent.
The European debt problems have left investors around the world fearful of the consequences for the global economy. Traders were spooked by the fact that Eurozone Finance Ministers remained vague in their promises of new support measures at a meeting in Brussels monday and suggested they would even accept a temporary default by Greece to get a bigger private sector contribution to a second bailout.