U.S. stocks tumbled sharply on Thursday with the Dow dropping to its worst level since September 2006 on a series of downgrades from Goldman Sachs while shares of Citigroup Inc. and General Motors hit its lowest levels in more than nine years.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index lost 25.61, or 1.9 percent, to 1,296.36 at 11:29 a.m. in New York, extending its 2008 retreat to 12 percent. The Dow decreased 229.12, or 1.9 percent, to 11,582.71, its lowest level since September 2006. The Nasdaq Composite Index sank 59.98, or 2.5 percent, to 2,341.28.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil futures jumped $3.75 to $138.3 a barrel, while gold futures climbed $33 to $915.3 an ounce.

General Motors Corp. Pushed blue chips down, its stock recently down 10 percent, after Goldman Sachs told clients to unload their positions in the face of the deteriorating auto car climate.

Coca-Cola was the lone Dow stock recently trading in positive territory, up 0.35 percent at $54.29. General Motors led the way down as it plunged 10 percent to its lowest level in 34 years.

U.S. stocks ended Wednesday with moderate gains after the Federal Reserve held interest rates at 2 percent.

Research In Motion tumbled 11.9 percent after it reported doubling its revenue and earnings in its first quarter but also signaled its plan to ramp up spending to sustain growth.