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Fear about Europe, U.S. drags Dow down 300

  • A specialist works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday, Sept. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK — The problems that have weighed on investors all summer — European debt and fear of a new recession in the United States — hammered the stock market Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 300 points.

The plunge erased the week's gains for stocks and sent the Dow below 11,000. It had not closed below that level since Aug. 22, after several weeks of extraordinary volatility.

The European Central Bank said a top official, Juergen Stark, was resigning almost three years before the end of his term in 2014, revealing deep disagreement over how to solve economic problems in Europe.

Traders fear that one of the continent's heavily indebted economies could default, an event that would ripple through the global banking system and make it difficult for other European countries to borrow money.

Such an outcome could tip the world economy back into recession. In the U.S., economic growth is already slowing, and unemployment is stuck above 9 percent.


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