US stocks fell to the lowest its been in three-months on Wednesday, following the growing unease over the economic outlook and weakening credit markets.
The S&P 500 lost 14.40, or 1.07 percent, to 1,424.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 140.87, or 1.08 percent, to 12,868.30. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 20.10, or 0.77 percent, to 2,576.28. Almost three stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.
Economic data released today did little to relieve investors' anxiety. Just two days prior to the start of the all-important holiday shopping season - Black Friday - consumer sentiment is still weak. According to a survey by Reuters/ University of Michigan, consumer sentiment fell nearly 5 percent in the October- November period. This is the highest drop since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina affected the economy.
Investors sold stocks and purchased government securities, pushing yields close to a two-year low. There was continuing rally in the bond market, with short-term securities seeing the biggest gains. The two-year note's yield dropped under 3 percent for the first time since December 2004.
The Conference Board's composite index of leading indicators declined 0.5 percent to 136.9 in October after a 0.1 percent increase in September.