Despair over the economy has sent Wall Street plunging again, propelling the Dow Jones industrials to their second-largest point loss ever. Stocks fell on a combination of disheartening economic data, including a big drop in retail sales and a Federal Reserve report that said tight credit conditions are hurting businesses across the country.
The downbeat data has convinced investors that the nation, if not already in a recession, is moving toward one. The Fed's Beige Book, which details conditions around the nation, found that the economy continued to slow in the early fall as financial and credit problems took a turn for the worse.
The Dow is down about 733 at the 8,577 level. On Monday, Sept. 29, the Dow had its largest point drop 777.68.