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Stocks tumble 679 points

Wall St. investors affirm economy crisis

NEW YORK (AP) — A litany of bad economic news has snuffed out Wall Street’s five-day rally, sending stocks falling sharply as investors realized anew how troubled the U.S. economy really is. Confirmation that the nation is in a recession followed reports of only a modest gain in holiday shopping sales, and that prompted investors to begin unloading stocks. Downbeat data on manufacturing and construction spending added to the market’s gloom.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 679 points, wiping out more than half the 1,276 points it added during a five-day rally built on investors’ budding optimism about the economy. The major indexes all lost more than 7 percent, with the Standard & Poor’s 500, the measure most closely watched by market professionals, falling nearly 9 percent.

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