Matters went from bad to worse as the stock market suffered its worst loss of 2008, already a year that hadn't been shaping up as a highlight for investors.
Stocks reeled and long-dated Treasurys jumped following a fresh round of hefty write-downs by banks and signs that bond insurers' credit ratings may be slashed.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 306.95 points Thursday, down 2.5%, at 12159.21. All 30 of its components ended lower. The Russell 2000 was off 2.8%, or 19.34 points, at 680.57. The small-stock indicator, which includes many companies that rely heavily on a robust U.S. economy, is now off more than 20% from its July highs, the traditional threshold defining a bear market....MORE