Worries about a slowing world economy took its toll on the markets today: At close, the Dow was down 250.82 points or 2 percent. Standard & Poors was down 2.2 percent and Nasdaq was down 2.4 percent.
That was the worst drop in three weeks and the second worst drop of the year.
"The Dow inched higher at the open, but quickly turned red after Mid-Atlantic manufacturers said that business conditions deteriorated sharply this month, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
"Another sour reading from the jobs market also weighed. The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits fell slightly last week, though the prior week's figure was revised higher, indicating the labor market is sputtering.
"'What we're seeing is the job market slowing to a crawl,' said Saira Malik, head of global equity research for TIAA-CREF in San Francisco."
James McDonald, chief investment strategist at Northern Trust Corp., told Bloomberg: "The economy is losing momentum. The key question will be how much the U.S. and China slow. On top of that, the Fed's response yesterday was fairly tepid. While they indicated the willingness to do more, they haven't done it yet."