Dow ends at lowest close in more than 6 years
AP Business Writer
NEW YORK ” The Dow Jones industrial average tumbled to its lowest close in more than six years on Thursday as sharp declines in key financial shares led the market lower.
The blue chips broke through a psychological barrier established in November to close at their lowest level since Oct. 9, 2002, the last bear market low.
The feeble performance marks a setback for many investors who hoped the Nov. 20 finish would mark the low point of the market’s extended decline from its October 2007 highs.
The market’s inability to rally also signals that investors see no immediate end for the recession, which is already 14 months old and one of the most severe in decades.
The Dow had been threatening to break through the November bottom since Tuesday, when the index tumbled 300 points on worries about the economy and the stability of banks in Eastern Europe. Stocks had barely held the November low on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Thursday, persistent worries about financial and technology stocks weighed on the market, with steep dropoffs in financial bellwethers like Citigroup and Bank of America leading the way downward. Both stocks ended down about 14 percent.
The Dow lost 89.68, or 1.2 percent, to end at 7,465.95. It was the lowest finish since October 2002.
Broader indexes also fell. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index ended down 9.48, or 1.20 percent, to 778.94, but finished above its Nov. 20 low of 752.44.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index suffered the biggest hit Thursday after Hewlett Packard Co. tumbled 7.9 percent after posting worrisome results. The Nasdaq fell 25.15, or 1.71 percent, to 1,442.82.