Stocks plunged on concerns that Ireland might need a bailout from the European Union/IMF and a slowdown in China may hurt its demand for commodities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 178.47 points, or 1.59 percent, to 11,023.50. (Earlier in the session, the Dow had slipped below the 11,000 mark for the first time in nearly a month). The S&P 500 index fell 19.41 points, or 1.62 percent, at 1,178.34. The NASDAQ shed 43.98 points, or 1.75 percent, at 2,469.84.

Dow components Alcoa (NYSE: AA) and The Travelers Cos. Inc. (NYSE: TRV) dropped 2.76 percent and 3.61 percent, respectively.

Irish prime minister Brian Cowen insisted in a speech to Parliament that the government will not need a cash injection and that it was taking steps to stabilize the economy to cut its high deficit.

The bad news overseas pumped up the dollar and hurt commodity prices. Oil futures plummeted 3.23 percent, gold dropped 2.20 percent. Oil-related stocks fell across the board.

Producer prices rose 0.4 percent in October, falling below analyst expectations. Excluding energy prices, core PPI decreased by 0.6 percent. It had been expected to be flat at 0.1 percent.

Bonds rose as the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury fell.

UK/European stocks suffered heavy losses.