Japan's Nikkei 225 settled behind by 2.71% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed lower by 2%.

Investors piled into gold, Treasuries and the U.S. dollar as eurozone contagion fears spurred safe-haven buying.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield skidded to 2.023% as prices surged by 10/32 and the dollar was jumping 0.61%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

Gold for April delivery surged $12 to settle $1,604.60 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

May crude oil futures were up 29 cents to finish at $93.74 a barrel, hit by the stronger the dollar.

Intuitive Surgical ( ISRG) shares bounced up 5.7% to $485.52 as shares recovered from four sessions of losses to become a top performer in the S&P 500 after a group of surgeons defended the company's robotic surgery devices for minimally-invasive surgeries.

James Breeden, president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has questioned the advantages of the products over alternatives even as Canaccord Genuity analyst Jason Mills raised Intuitive Surgical to "buy" from "hold," referencing positive comments from another group of surgeons who favor minimally-invasive technologies.

Best Buy ( BBY) shares tacked on 3.2% to $22.13 after JP Morgan analyst Christopher Horvers reinitiated coverage of the Richfield, Minn.-based consumer electronics giant to overweight with a $29 price target, expressing confidence in the company's new management and turnaround efforts.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

Joe Deaux in New York contributed to this report

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