Schlumberger Ltd. slid 8.9 percent and Occidental Petroleum Corp. lost 7.9 percent as oil retreated to the lowest since May 2007. U.S. Steel Corp., the second-largest producer of the metal, tumbled 11 percent after UBS AG advised selling the shares. FPL Group Inc., the biggest U.S. producer of wind power, retreated 5.8 percent as Florida's economic slump weighed on profit. The drop followed declines overseas, with France's benchmark index losing 4 percent and Hong Kong's plunging 13 percent.
The Standard & Poor's 500 Index slipped 27.85 points, or 3.2 percent, to 848.92. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 203.18, or 2.4 percent, to 8,175.77. The Nasdaq Composite Index retreated 46.13, or 3 percent, to 1,505.9. More than eight stocks fell for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.
The S&P 500 swung between gains and losses at least 20 times as Huntington Bancshares Inc. led a rally in regional banks that accepted $34 billion in government cash. The benchmark index for U.S. equities extended its October retreat to 27 percent, its worst monthly loss since 1931, and is down 42 percent in 2008.
Canada's main stock index fell toward its worst monthly drop since World War II, led by energy and financial shares, on concern that a global credit crisis and recession will curb demand for the country's commodity exports. The Standard & Poor's/TSX Composite Index slid 4.3 percent to 8,897.24 at 3:24 p.m. in Toronto. The S&P/TSX, which derives three-quarters of its value from resource and finance shares, has fallen 24 percent in October, poised for its biggest monthly decline since May 1940.
Brazil's Bovespa stock index fell to the lowest level in almost three years on concern tighter credit markets and the worst month for commodity prices in at least 38 years will hurt the earnings outlook. The Bovespa index dropped 4.25 percent to 30,144.84 at 3:51 p.m. New York time, the lowest level since November 2005. It plunged 14 percent last week.
U.K. stocks fell to a five-year low, led by oil-service companies and commodities producers, as crude reached the lowest level since May 2007 and concern grew that the global economy is sinking into a recession. The FTSE 100 Index lost 30.77, or 0.8 percent, to 3,852.59 in London. The measure earlier fell as much as 5.6 percent. The FTSE All-Share Index slipped 1 percent, while Ireland's ISEQ Index decreased 3.2 percent.
German stocks retreated for a fifth day on concern the worsening global economic slowdown will damp the outlook for earnings. The benchmark DAX Index lost 26.89, or 0.6 percent, to 4,268.78 as of 3:09 p.m. in Frankfurt.
Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell to a 26-year low as Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. cut earnings predictions and the yen rose for a fifth day, reducing the value of the country's exports. The Nikkei 225 fell 6.4 percent to 7,162.90, its lowest level since October 1982, paced by Honda Motor Co. and Canon Inc.
China's stocks fell, sending the CSI 300 Index to its biggest loss in four months, on concern corporate profits will weaken further as the economy slows. The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated shares traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen, fell 126.93, or 7.1 percent, to 1,654.67 at the close, the steepest decline since June 19 and the lowest close since Nov. 28, 2006.
Indian stocks fell, with the Sensitive Index extending a 19 percent three-day decline, on concern government measures will fail to support growth and company earnings will falter. The benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, dropped 733.9, or 8.4 percent, to 7,967.17 as of 12:50 p.m. local time, the lowest level since November 2005.