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US Stocks Fall, Pushing Dow Average to Brink of Bear Market

black bear.jpg4:30PM EST: U.S. stocks fell a second day, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to the brink of a bear market, on concern subprime-related writedowns at banks will worsen and record oil and a slowing economy will prolong the worst profit decline since 2002.

The Dow extended its retreat from an all-time high in October to almost 20 percent, the threshold for a so-called bear market. American International Group Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. sent the S&P 500 Financials Index to a five-year low on speculation of mounting losses. Hasbro Inc. and KB Home helped lead consumer stocks in the S&P 500 to the lowest level since 2003 as oil topped $142 a barrel.

The Dow average lost 106.91 points, or 0.9 percent, to 11,346.51, leaving it within 0.1 percent of a bear market. The 30-stock measure fell 10 percent this month for the worst June since 1930. The S&P 500 slid 4.77, or 0.4 percent, to 1,278.38 today. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 5.74, or 0.3 percent, to 2,315.63.


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