Stocks plunge as worries about Europe intensify

September 9, 2011 1:15:10 PM PDT
The problems that weighed down stocks all summer show no sign of letting up.

U.S. stocks are closing sharply lower, erasing the week's gains. Rising fears about fallout from Europe's debt crisis triggered the downturn. Seeking safer investments, investors sent the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to its lowest level in five decades.

The Dow Jones industrial average had its steepest decline in more than three weeks, a period marked by wild swings in prices and sentiment.

At the close of trading, the Dow is down about 304 points, or 2.7 percent, at 10,992. The Standard & Poor's 500 is down 32, or 2.7 percent, at 1,154. The Nasdaq composite is down 61, or 2.4 percent, at 2,468.

Nearly six stocks fell for every one that rose.