Dow falls 512 in steepest decline since '08 crisis

NEW YORK - (AP) - Fears about the global economy led to the biggest panic in financial markets since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Dow plunged nearly 513 points Thursday, its biggest pointdecline since Oct. 22, 2008. Only three of the 500 stocks in theStandard & Poor's 500 index had gains. Oil fell by 6 percent. Theyield on the two-year Treasury note hit a record low as investorssought out relatively stable investments.

All three major stock indexes are down 10 percent or more fromtheir previous highs, a drop-off that is considered to be a marketcorrection. A drop of 20 percent or more signifies the start of abear market, an extended period of stock declines.

Investors are increasingly concerned about the possibility ofanother recession in the U.S. and a debt crisis in Europe.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 512.76 points, or 4.3percent, to 11,383.68. Thursday's losses turned the blue-chip stockindex negative for the year.

The S&P 500 - the benchmark for most mutual funds - lost 60.20,or 4.8 percent, to 1,200.14. It is now down 12 percent from itsrecent high of 1,363 reached on April 29. The Nasdaq composite shed136.68, or 5.1 percent, to 2,556.39.

Oil dipped to $87 a barrel on worries demand will fall becauseof the slowing economy. It had traded over $100 as recently as June9.

Nearly 20 stocks fell for every one that rose on the New YorkStock Exchange.

European stocks also fell broadly because of concerns that Italy or Spain may need help from the European Union. The benchmark stock indexes in Italy, Germany and England each fell 3 percent.

Stock trading has been volatile this week because of concernsthat the U.S. economy is weakening. Manufacturing, consumerspending and hiring by private companies are below levels that areconsistent with a healthy economy. Those reports have called intoquestion estimates from economists, including Federal ReserveChairman Ben Bernanke, that the economy will grow more quickly inthe second half of the year.

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