Stocks Plunge in Slowdown Panic

U.S. stocks suffered their worst one-day drop in nearly four years on Tuesday, plunging more than 3% on slowdown fears.

An 8.8% overnight drop in Chinese stocks — the steepest decline on the Shanghai markets in a decade — started the sell-off, which spread to U.S. and European markets on a big drop in U.S. durable orders. An unsuccessful assassination attempt in Afghanistan on Vice President Dick Cheney added fuel to a market already nervous about subprime lending troubles and comments from former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan that the U.S. economy could face a recession later this year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and NYSE couldn’t keep pace with the record 4 billion shares that changed hands on the NYSE, and the Dow suddenly plunged nearly 200 points around 3 p.m. when the index caught up. At its low, the Dow was down 546 points, or 4.3%.

The Nasdaq ended the day lower by 97 points, or 3.9%. The Dow and S&P lost 3.3% and 3.5%, respectively.

A number of big names lost 4% or more, including Intel , Microsoft , Cisco and Apple , which fell more than 5% after delaying the release of AppleTV until mid-March.

A few tech investors had reason to smile: Brocade , Marvell and Applied Signal rose on their earnings reports.

WebSideStory and NetEase fell on their results, although NetEase shares initially traded higher late Monday on its results before getting caught in the overseas selling that also hit the likes of and CDC .

The Nasdaq lost 97 to 2407, the S&P 500 tumbled 50 to 1399, and the Dow plunged 416 to 12,216. Volume soared to 4.07 billion shares on the NYSE, and 3.09 billion on the Nasdaq. Declining issues led by 28-4 margin on the NYSE, and 28-3 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was a stunning 99% on the NYSE, and 96% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 98-67 on the NYSE, and 57-94 on the Nasdaq.

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