No sign of winter's end for stocks as Dow plunges nearly 300 points

Stocks plummeted to a three-month low today as concerns the global recession could deepen hurt shares of energy and financial companies.

By the end of the markets' worst day since last Nov. 21, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen nearly 300 points, or 3.79 percent, to close at 7,553, the S&P 500 lost 4.56 percent to finish at 789, and the Nasdaq lost 4.15 percent to end at 1471.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) fell 4.44 percent to $71.28 and Chevron Corp. (CVX) declined 5.1 percent to $66.18 as oil prices dropped below $35 a barrel. The International Energy Agency predicted last week that global demand for crude would fall for the second year in a row in 2009, the first time that's happened since 1982-83.

Bank stocks also plunged as investors worried that big financial firms may still be in trouble. Citigroup (C) fell 12.3 percent to $3.06 and Bank of America (BAC) lost 12 percent, closing at $4.90.

Automakers were stung by concerns that the additional government funds they're seeking may not be enough to turn them around. General Motors (GM) dropped 12.8 percent to $2.18 and Ford Motor (F) declined 3.98 percent to $1.69.
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