Cindy Perman
October 15, 2008

Stocks plunged Wednesday as worries about a possible recession rattled a market already worried about whether or not government efforts to rescue the financial system will work.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed nearly 8 percent, or 733.08 points — 350 of which happened in the last hour.

Investors were wary after a slew of dismal economic reports, comments from Fed officials and a profit warning from JPMorgan Chase, sending major indexes on their way to retesting their Friday lows.

The Dow finished at 8577.91 and is now about 100 points above the low it hit last Friday, having made triple-digit moves in 20 of the past 23 sessions.

The S&P 500 shed more than 9 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell about 8.5 percent. The CBOE volatility index, considered the best gauge of fear in the market, jumped 26 percent to 69.25.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said turmoil in the credit markets poses a “significant threat” to an already slowing U.S. economy, suggesting an openness to further interest-rate cuts.

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