Stocks fell sharply today, following through on Tuesday's late pullback, after another series of sharp declines on foreign markets.
At 3 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was down 116.40 at 8,486.25, more than wiping out the 69-point gain of the prior two sessions.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 13.10 at 1,079.76, while the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index was down 34.48 at 1,763.69.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by a more than a 4-to-1 margin on the New York Stock Exchange.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei stock average fell 1.4 percent amid mounting fears that political wrangling will further delay measures to relieve the bad debt problems crippling Japan's banking system. Parliament began debate Tuesday on a series of bills aimed at speeding up the write-off of bad loans, but progress stalled today when opposition parties boycotted a key committee meeting after a dispute over procedures.
In Europe, meanwhile, markets sank amid disappointment over the Russian debt restructuring plan. In afternoon trading, Frankfurt's DAX index was down 2.2 percent and London's FT-SE 100 was down 2.2 percent.
J.P. Morgan, one of the U.S. banks that do business in Russia and other emerging markets, led the decline in the Dow industrials, falling 2 1 1/1 6 at 118 3/1 6 . Institutional investors have been selling J.P. Morgan shares, while small investors have been buying, according to money flow analysis.
Chase Manhattan Corp. fell 1 3/1 6 to 63, Citicorp lost 3 5/1 6 to 132 1 3/1 6 and BankAmerica Corp. dropped 2 1/2 to 76 5/8 . Travelers Group Inc., which is merging with Citicorp, fell 1 7/1 6 to 53 1 1/1 6.
U.S. companies "are tied to economic activity abroad, which is slowing, so eventually we are going to see slowing here too," said Donald Coxe, chief investment strategist at Harris Investment Management Inc., which oversees $12.5 billion.
"Analysts will realize profit estimates are overstated."
Vimpel-Communications, which provides cellular phone service in Russia, dropped 3 1/8 to 16 7/8 and oil producer AO Tatneft fell 9/1 6 to 3 7/1 6.
Global TeleSystems Group Inc., a U.S. company that provides telecommunications service in Russia and other Eastern European countries, lost 5 1/2 to 35.