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.