Dow plunges 419 Thursday

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks sank Thursday — an unwelcome echo of last week’s extreme moves — on worries about the global economy and the health of European banks.

“Some days, investors are only willing to see the glass half empty, and that certainly seems to be the case today,” said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Asset Management Group.

After falling as much as 528.61 points, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 10,990.58, down 419.63 points, or 3.7 percent, with all but one of its 30 components shedding value.

Hewlett-Packard Co. shares fell 6 percent after the computer maker cut its full-year sales forecast in an early release of its earnings, originally expected for after the bell. It also said it was “in discussions” with British software firm Autonomy Corp. PLC for a possible offer and is exploring alternatives for its PC business.

Bank of America Corp. was off 6 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index declined 53.24 points, or 4.5 percent, to 1,140.65, with energy slammed the hardest among its 10 industry groups, all of which were losing ground.

The Nasdaq composite index dropped 131.05 points, or 5.2 percent, to 2,380.43.

“We were ready for some kind of pullback, but it’s surprising as to how big it is today. It speaks to the general volatility,” said Ken Tower, a senior analyst at Quantitative Analysis Service.

Morgan Stanley reduced its forecast for global growth, calling Europe’s policy answer to its sovereign-debt crisis insufficient. Also, U.S. regulators have intensified scrutiny of the U.S. divisions of European banks, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.

PNC’s Stone said word that the Fed is checking up on U.S. branches of European banks is not in and of itself alarming. “People seem to be thinking they’re checking because something is up, I think it’s more that’s what you do; it’s all how you look at it,” he said.

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