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NEW YORK (AP) — Investors began giving in to fears Thursday that a global recession is already under way, and stock markets shuddered around the world. Selling started in Asia, picked up speed in Europe and sent Wall Street near its worst finish of the year.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 391 points and at one point was down more than 500, a return to the volatility that gripped the market this summer.
One financial indicator after another showed that investors are losing hope that the global economy can keep growing. The price of oil and metals such as copper, which depend on economic demand, fell sharply. Traders bought Treasury bonds and the dollar for safety.
FedEx, a company that ships so many goods it is considered a barometer of the U.S. economy, had to lower its earnings forecast for the year because customers are putting off purchases of electronics and other gadgets from China.
The Dow fell 391.01 points, or 3.5 percent, and closed at 10,733.83. The selling was not just steep but broad: Nineteen stocks on the New York Stock Exchange fell for every one that rose. At one point, the Dow was down more than 500 points.
"Markets rely on confidence and certainty. Right now there is neither," said John Canally, an economic strategist at LPL Financial, an investment firm in Boston.
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