Rising fears of another recession hammered U.S. stocks on Thursday, sending major averages sharply lower in a return to the extreme fluctuations investors endured a week ago.
New worries about the health of European banks set the tone before the market’s open, and a dismal report on regional U.S. manufacturing fueled a downward spiral in which the Dow dropped as much as 528 points, spurring a flight to safe-haven assets like gold.
The Nasdaq ended more than 5 percent lower, the S&P 500 more than 4 percent and the blue-chip Dow off more than 3 percent.
“Are we going to go into recession? Most market participants were looking for slow and steady growth, but the statistics and the financial situation here and in foreign economies have disturbed that view,” said Richard Weiss of American Century Investments.