Wall Street hit levels not seen since 2003, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling below the 8,000 mark, as the fate of Detroit's Big Three automakers and the economy disheartened investors.
Stocks finished at their lows of the session after the automakers pleaded for relief during a second day of hearings in Washington. The heads of General Motors Ford and Chrysler are asking for a massive infusion of cash to prevent millions of layoffs and stave off bankruptcy.
Investors were discouraged by the Fed's sharply lowered projection for economic activity this year and next. Economic worries caused across-the-board selling, with financial stocks particularly hard hit.
The Dow finished down nearly 430 points at the 7,990 level.