The Dow slid 445.41 points, or 1.86% to 23,504.35. The S&P 500 fell 2.20% to close at 2,783.36. The Nasdaq Composite closed 1.44% lower at 8,393.18. Stocks were under pressure as dismal economic data and weak bank earnings dented market sentiment.
Retail sales during the month of March plunged a record 8.7%, marking the largest one-month decline since the Commerce Department began tracking the series in 1992. Manufacturing in the New York area also slumped by its biggest margin ever to a historic low, surpassing the levels seen in the throes of the Great Recession. "This points to a very severe recession because this is just the beginning of a series," notes one economist.
Bank of America shares dropped 6.49% after the banking giant posted quarterly results that were below expectations. Citigroup's stock was also under pressure after the company posted its first-quarter earnings.
Weekly jobless claims are scheduled for release Thursday. Morgan Stanley is among the companies scheduled to report earnings.
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