American Express Co. tumbled 10 percent on a report the company may need government aid. Citigroup Inc. and the Standard & Poor's 500 Financials Index slid to 12-year lows as the Treasury scrapped plans to buy mortgage assets and shifted focus to consumer credit. Best Buy, the largest electronics retailer, lost 8 percent after saying profit will decrease in ``the most difficult climate we've ever seen.'' Occidental Petroleum Corp. dropped 11 percent as crude sank below $57 a barrel.
The S&P 500 dropped 5.2 percent to 852.32 and lost 8.5 percent over the past three days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 411.3 points, or 4.7 percent, to 8,282.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 5.2 percent to 1,499.21, a five-year low. More than 24 stocks fell for each that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.
European stocks fell for a second day as investors speculated earnings will worsen and a retreat in commodity prices pushed mining and oil shares lower.
National benchmark indexes fell in 17 of the 18 western European markets. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 slipped 1.5 percent. Germany's DAX slid 3 percent after earlier rising as much as 2.4 percent. France's CAC 40 lost 3.1 percent, reversing earlier gains of as much as 2.2 percent.
Japanese stocks fell for a second day after a decline in crude oil prices to nearly a 20-month low and a drop in copper prices signaled a deeper slump in the global economy. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 113.79, or 1.3 percent, to close at 8,695.51 in Tokyo, the first time its daily change was smaller than 2 percent in four weeks.
Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 33.60 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,927.30 at the close in Sydney, the lowest in two weeks.